The first day of summer marks the countdown to Australian Open 2016, with just 48 days to go until the world’s best tennis players commence their Grand Slam campaigns.
Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley today joined tennis legend Todd Woodbridge to deliver the all-important long-range weather forecast for January, as prepared by the tournament’s official meteorologist, Bob Leighton.
“The forecast for Australian Open 2016 looks like a typical Melbourne summer,” Tiley said.
“We expect only three days above the 35-degree mark, with the majority in the mid to low 20s, perfect weather for tennis.
“We expect a few showers and thunderstorms during the two weeks so having three retractable roof stadiums is fantastic, and effectively allows us to weatherproof the Australian Open. And for the warmer days we have more shaded areas for fans around the grounds than ever before.”
The Australian Open heat policy, updated for the 2015 tournament, remains the same and ensures conditions are fair for all players.
“The heat policy, as always, will be applied at the Referee’s discretion and will take into account both the forecast and state of play when making the call,” Tiley said.
“The decision on implementing the heat policy will again take into consideration the forecast once the ambient temperature exceeds 40 degrees, and the Wet Bulb Global Temperature (WBGT) reading exceeds 32.5.”
Tiley said a raft of initiatives was guaranteed to make the 2016 event bigger and better than ever for both fans and players.
“Next year’s Australian Open has something for everyone,” he said. “Fans flock to Melbourne Park not just for the world class tennis but also the fantastic carnival atmosphere. Yesterday we announced The Open Sessions line-up for Grand Slam Oval, which is sure to add an extra layer of entertainment.”
Initiatives for Australian Open 2016 include:
- The world’s biggest Grand Slam footprint, as the Australian Open Festival stretches towards the city and includes Birrarung Marr
- A 10 per cent increase in prize money, increasing the total pool to AUS$44 million
- Expanded social media presence, including a new WeChat platform in China with a potential audience of more than 600 million; new Snapchat channel – australian.open; Periscope people’s press conferences and a special hashtag to celebrate Lleyton Hewitt’s final Australian Open
- Restructured hospitality offerings open to both the general public and corporate clients, including the opportunity to dine on court at Margaret Court Arena during the finals
- Seven new restaurants and 12 private dining rooms on site
- A host of new activations on Grand Slam Oval as well as the return of the popular Heineken Stage and Jacob’s Creek Wine Bar, and an exciting line-up of live bands and entertainment
- New Jurlique Spa Lounge, where fans can book a revitalising treatment
- Tickets to Kid’s Tennis Day are now on sale, featuring some of the world’s best players and favourite Nickelodeon characters including SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
- Increased customer service for both players and fans, with staff training augmented through a new AccorHotels partnership
- Special access to a player arrival viewing area for fans
- Free mobile phone charging stations around the grounds
- Yonex announced as the official stringer and expected to string more than 4000 racquets during the tournament
- The most comprehensive host broadcast coverage of any Grand Slam event, produced by Tennis Australia and including all matches across all draws and all 16 match courts – singles, doubles, mixed doubles, juniors, legends and wheelchair events, totalling more than 600 matches – plus some qualifying matches, and coverage across eight practice courts, a Grand Slam first
- An exclusive men’s final viewing party to be held in Shanghai
- Evonne Goolagong Cawley to be honoured at the annual Legends Lunch to celebrate the 40th anniversary of her third Australian Open win
- Rex Hartwig, six-time Grand Slam champion (men’s doubles at the US Open in 1953, Australian Open in 1954, Wimbledon in 1954-55 and mixed doubles at the Australian Open in 1953-54) and Davis Cup stalwart to be inducted into the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame on Australia Day.
Australian Open fast facts
- Australian Open 2015 attracted a record 703,899 fans, smashing the previous record of 686,006 set in 2012
- Australian Open 2009 was the warmest event on record, with the average daily maximum 34.7°C, nine degrees above normal
- Australian Open 2015 had a daily average maximum temperature of just 24.5°C
- On 29 January, 1963, 108mm of rain fell on Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club, making it the wettest day in Australian Open history
- Fans at Australian Open 2016 are expected to consume more than 200,000 bottles water and 150,000 ice creams.