24 January

Postcard from the Australian Open: a wizard stop on the magical mystery tennis tour!

The Australian Open is often called the ‘Happy Slam’ and regularly claimed as the players' favourite. Held right at the start of the new year, you feel nothing but optimism and positivity when you visit reports LTL player Simon Wood. But is the Open going too far to attract a whole new audience?

WIN an AO Open 2020 Towel!Win an AO Towel!

We sent Simon shopping and have a wonderful Australian Open 2020 towel for you to win! For your chance to win it see here!

The AO is a tennis event first and foremost but you can't help feeling when you are here that this amazing arena is increasingly developing into an entertainment carnival. Creating unique experiences for all types of customer is the new game on the block. Whether it’s families, food lovers, event seekers, music lovers or couples looking for ideas on a date night, Melbourne Park has something for everyone - even for people who don’t like watching tennis!

The AO Ball Park, which has grown 4 times the size compared to last year, is a great place for families. With an aqua play park, ANZ Tennis Hot Shots (an initiative developed by Tennis Australia to get more kids into tennis), family-friendly food options and non-stop entertainment, this is where kids and adults  hang out together. There is even a Harry Potter Day. The boy wizard may have had a broomstick not a tennis racket but what is magic for if not to bring some fun to the park. Quidditch, set and match?

For those of us without kids, the AO Live stage allows you (with 4,999 other music fans) to enjoy a huge line up of local and international artists performing every day of the tournament. It's so big, it could probably be classed as a stand alone music festival. Even us Brits are well catered for with our very own Fatboy Slim headlining on Sunday.

Melbourne is the capital of the state of Victoria and the AO tries to make the most of the opportunity to encourage tennis fans to explore beyond the city. There are 3 distinct areas representing the ‘Best of Victoria’, with a Northside, Countryside and Eastside area. There is wine tasting on offer as you would expect but also live local bands, wall art and a nightclub for those looking for something a bit more lively and the Grand Slam Oval is one of the best places for eating, drinking and socialising.

When you think of Australia you probably think of some of its amazing food. Well food fans are definitelyin for a treat, with 16 restaurants and pop up food stands at Melbourne Park. From fast food to Nobu and everything else in between.

Tennis will always be the reason the Australian Open exists but with it fast becoming an ‘entertainment event’ you can see why visitors flock in their droves without seeing a ball being struck! Does that bode well for tennis or has the carnival gone too far? There is only one way to find out, so book your ticket for 2021 now. One thing I'm certain about, the Australian Open should be on everyone's tennis bucket list!

Full details of the Australian Open are on its website here