With less than a month before the start of the Australian Open 2014, Minister for Sport and Recreation Hugh Delahunty joined Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley for the first hit on the new look Margaret Court Arena (MCA).
“Margaret Court Arena hosts the world’s best tennis players and is a venue where the fans love to watch matches,” Mr Delahunty said.
“The upgrade of Margaret Court Arena is part of the first stage of the redevelopment of Melbourne Park, which will result in improved facilities for spectators and players at the Australian Open.
“While the arena is still under construction, it is a great achievement that we have been able to make it available to Tennis Australia to use for the upcoming Australian Open.
“The current redevelopment ensures Margaret Court Arena remains a centrepiece of our sports capital and an integral part of the traditions of this great tennis tournament.”
Mr Delahunty said works would be completed ahead of Australian Open 2015 and fans could look forward to an arena with a 7,500 seat capacity, an increase of 1,500 seats.
“The increased seating capacity means more room for tennis fans to watch the Australian Open’s many classic matches,” Mr Delahunty said.
“A key feature will be a glass curtain wall around the arena which will give people a sense of occasion.”
Mr Delahunty said the stadium’s new roof would be fixed in an open position for the upcoming Australian Open, providing more shade for players and fans, however it would be retractable and fully operational for the Australian Open in 2015.
“I’m delighted to see this great venue which, when completed, will make Melbourne Park the only Grand Slam tennis venue in the world to boast three stadiums with retractable roofs,” Mr Delahunty said.
“With the Australian Open just a few weeks away I encourage everyone to come along and experience tennis at its best and enjoy all the new world class facilities at Melbourne Park.”
Mr Tiley spoke of the affection Australian Open spectators have towards the venue.
“The intimate environment for players and spectators will create one of the best tennis viewing experiences in the world,” Mr Tiley said.
“In delivering the upgrade to MCA, coupled with the National Tennis Centre which was opened just before the Australian Open this year, the Victorian Government is helping keep Melbourne Park ahead of the game.”
Mr Delahunty said the recent Margaret Court Arena upgrades were part of the $366 million Stage 1 redevelopment of Melbourne Park which also included the recently completed Eastern Plaza, incorporating the Edwin Flack Bridge and the National Tennis Centre.