The Australian Open launches the tennis season with a thrilling start, and fans will now have even more reason to celebrate as the tournament organizers have added an extra day to the prestigious grand slam event.
Following the 2023 tournament, organisers received many complaints from fans and players about late finishing times for matches. Some were concluding well after 4 am attracting comments from the likes of Andy Murray who described the tardy time of his match against Thanasi Kokkinakis as “ridiculously late”.
Heeding the growing call to limit finish times, organisers have announced that the tournament will now run for 15 days from January 14 to 28, 2024. Sessions on Melbourne Park’s three main courts – Rod Laver Arena, Margaret Court Arena and John Cain Arena – will now increase from 47 to 52.
The day session at Rod Laver Arena and Margaret Court Arena will feature a minimum of two matches, down from three, to limit the potential of late finishes. Night sessions will continue to feature a minimum of two matches and the John Cain Arena schedule also remains the same.
Hits like a Melbourne summer 😎
AO 2024 starts SUNDAY – giving you one EXTRA day of epic matches to watch.
Let’s make Sunday the ultimate day for it 🍿 pic.twitter.com/fIPjvRSrCh
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) October 2, 2023
Tennis fans were overjoyed at the news and expressed their excitement at the idea of more tennis viewing to be had in 2024.
I think this is a really good idea!
— OrvilleLloydDouglas🇨🇦🏳️🌈 (@OrvilleLloyd) October 2, 2023
This is a good decision👏🏻
— Laura~Louise (@LauraLouise_33) October 2, 2023
Great news, gets Grand Slam tennis on TV on a weekend, and spreads out a packed R1.
Just need Wimb & USO to complete the art for this.
— James O Brien (@brie10039) October 3, 2023
Great decision!!! So excited for 2024
— Jane IMAGINABLE McGonigal ❤️ (@avantgame) October 2, 2023
Great decision 👌👌
— Mark Laz (@marklaz0) October 2, 2023
Some followers, however, were not as complementary calling out increased commercialisation of the event with one person offering an alternative solution to the late finishes.
Good decision but don’t pretend this is anything other than commercialising a day which previously had nothing for you to sell.
— Joe Kostowski (@JoeK64002711) October 2, 2023
Not the best decision, costs fans more for tickets. The best option would’ve been reverting back to 10am starts on the outside courts
— David Thompson (@Davidgt84) October 3, 2023
Regarding the big change, tournament director Craig Tiley explained, “We’ve listened to feedback from the players and fans and are excited to deliver a solution to minimise late finishes while continuing to provide a fair and equitable schedule on the stadium courts.”
“The additional day will achieve this, benefiting scheduling for fans and players alike. The first round will now be played over three days instead of two, also giving fans an extra day of unbelievable tennis, entertainment, food and family fun,” he added.
“Every year our team works hard to bring fans an event that feels new and exciting, and this is another opportunity to grow what is already the biggest annual sporting event in the world in January.”