Lifestyle

Your Fast Serve to the Australian Open

Australian Open

Melburnians love their sport—AFL Football, cricket, horse and car racing all contribute to Melbourne’s much-loved, sporting culture, but during the last two weeks of January each year, the sport of choice is tennis. Melbourne’s Grand-Slam tennis event is the Australian Open, which last year attracted a record 686,000 during the fortnight of play.

Getting into the swing of it

Whether you’re a ticket holder or a wannabe attendee, the We Know Melbourne team will give you the perfect serve of tennis news, insider tips, and knowledge so you can get your tennis fix, even if you don’t have a ticket to the event.

Australian Open 2015—the event

Who | Thirty-two seeded men’s players drawn from 21 countries and 32 seeded women from 18 countries, 49 Australian players. In total, 524 players—289 male and 235 female.

What | The Australian Open is one of four Grand-Slam tennis events worldwide. It is the first in each year’s calendar of events. The others are: the French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open.

Where | Melbourne Olympic Park—Rod Laver, Margaret Court, Hisense Arenas and grounds, Olympic Boulevard, Batman Avenue, Melbourne—gates open at 10am daily and close at completion of play.

When | Monday, 19 January to Sunday, 1 February 2015—gates open around 10am daily, but actual playing times change each day due to the weather and length of games.

Why | Each Grand Slam, including the Australian Open, offers players the highest-ranking points, prize money, media and public attention. Players participate in one of the five disciplines—men’s and women’s singles, men’s, women’s and mixed doubles.

Prize money | This is what all the fuss is about. The pool is $AUD36.3 Million up a cool $AUD3.3 Million from 2014.

Weather | A Melbourne necessity to discuss! The Australian Open’s three arenas enable the tennis to go on rain, hail, wind, or shine, except in the case of extreme heat. The Referee may suspend play in line with the policy and forecast.

Getting there—Melbourne Olympic Park by tram for free!

Two options | Special shuttle trams (Route 70a) or Route 70 Wattle Park Tram.

Shuttle trams | Run between the city (Flinders Street) and Melbourne Park. They will operate every three minutes in peak times and every five-10 minutes at other times from 8:30am. You can board along Flinders Street at Swanston Street, Elizabeth Street or Market Street stops (not Russell Street).

Route 70 Wattle Park tram | Are available from Flinders Street from 8:30am direct to Melbourne Park (gates open at 10am).

Free travel | You must be an Australian Open ticket holder, including ground pass tickets and be able to show it.

After play shuttle trams | Operate from Melbourne Park back into the City for one hour after the completion of play, no matter what time the action ends (including night sessions).

Wheelchair access | Low-floor accessible trams will run between the City and Melbourne Park from 9am to midnight, approximately every 15 minutes.

Venue entry | ticket holders can enter Melbourne Park directly off the tram platform stops at Rod Laver and Hisense Arenas.

Of note | Australian Open ticket holders do not need a Metcard or Myki to travel on these services. Passengers must have a valid ticket for travel on other Yarra Trams services or on trains and buses.

More info | For train, tram and bus information call 131 638 or visit www.metlinkmelbourne.com.au

Buying tickets

Tickets are still available to the Australian Open, but it depends on what you’re looking for. Most people would love to see Roger Federer or another tennis star hitting it out, but this is really the luck of the draw. You can’t book to see a player, you can only book to see a section of play on the tournament schedule or get access to the grounds or an arena.

Buy tickets online | www.ausopen.com through ticketek or through the fan marketplace online where tennis fans sell their unwanted tickets safely—https://fanmarketplace.ausopen.com

What’s available | Your best bet at this time is a ground pass ticket. Ground pass tickets entitle you to access to all outside courts, including Hisense Arena (subject to availability and scheduling). There’s also an ‘after 5pm’ ground pass and a ‘3-day or 5-day ground pass’. The cost of ground pass tickets begins at $39 for a day pass and $29 for an ‘after 5pm’ pass.

Terms and conditions | Check out the terms and conditions at: http://tickets.ausopen.com/general-information/tickets-information

Think lucky | Check out ebay, gumtree, and ask around.

2016 tickets | Yes, it’s not too early to think about next year now. Tennis Australia wants you to consider becoming an Australian Open member to get priority tickets for 2016—

http://tickets.ausopen.com/membership

See the tennis without a ticket?

It’s on the telly | For the first six days of the tournament, Channel 7 and 7TWO will be televising the Australian Open. Then, Channel 7 will be broadcasting it. Check your TV Guide.

Live, on the big screen | Campari House Rooftop from 12noon to late every day – 23-25 Hardware Lane, Melbourne

Live at Riverwalk mini stadium | Along the Yarra, on the ground level of Crown Casino, 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank

It’s being streamed | For the first time, Channel 7 is streaming all the tennis action. Check out the 7Sport app or the web at www.7sport.com.au

Courtside at the hotels

You as a tennis star? | Oh yes you are!
Use our Australian Open Moment photo stand-ins to put yourself in the picture. Find your inner tennis star and share them with your family and friends. The Australian Open Moment photo stand-ins are set-up in the lobby of the Swanston Hotel.

Who’s playing | Want to know the next day’s playing draw, ask Reception staff. They will have it on hand as soon as it’s available.

Dine like a champ in the hotels | Cocoon Bar’s tennis special is fresh strawberries and vanilla ice cream with a homemade, strawberry meringue served on chocolate soil. Available pre or post match with a free glass of sparkling for only $12. | Refuelling in the Louden Restaurant with the Blue Swimmer Crab & Prawn Risotto or our Heirloom Beetroot and Feta Salad will give you energy to burn.

Win with our Australian Open Moment Competition | Take a photo of yourself as a tennis star using our Australian Open photo stand-ins and upload it to facebook, instagram or twitter—check in @swanstonhotel #ausopenatswanston You’ll win a voucher for 10% off any food and beverage from the Soul Cafe, Cocoon Bar, or Louden Kitchen and Grill. Just ask our Reception or Concierge team for your voucher.

Australian Open fast facts 2014

Here’s some weird and wonderful things about tennis and last year’s tournament. What will happen this year?

  • Surface of the court? | Plexicushion (from 2008—present); rebound ace (1988—2007); grass (1905—1987).
  • Men’s singles tournamentstats 2014 | 1208 aces served, 4477 games played
  • Women’s singles tournament stats 2014 | 708 aces served, 2695 games played
  • Percentage of highest successful challenges | 71.43%—men; 100%—women
  • Longest rallies | 32 shots—women; 33 shots—men
  • Fastest speed of serves | 202 km/h—women; 234 km/h —men