Australian Open to start on a Sunday in 2024, becomes 15-day event

An additional day will be added to the Australian Open in 2024, in an attempt, organisers say, to prevent as many late finishes for players

Rod Laver Arena, Australian Open 2021 Rod Laver Arena, Australian Open 2021 – © Panoramic

The 2024 Australian Open will be a 15-day event, with the first Grand Slam of the year beginning on a Sunday and with the first round spread over three days.

Traditionally, the Australian Open has run for 14 days, with play beginning on a Monday. However, with organisers saying that data has shown that matches are becoming longer, and amid complaints from players about late finishes, the tournament is adding an extra day, matching the format at Roland-Garros.

“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,” Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said in a statement.

“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.”

Day sessions to feature only two matches to prevent late finishes

Another big change at the 2024 Australian Open will be a shift from three matches per day session, to two, across the tournaments two biggest courts, the Rod Laver Arena and Margaret Court Arena.

In the 2023 Australian Open, these day session matches ran longer than planned, causing night session matches to finish late into the morning hours, including Andy Murray’s match with Thanasi Kokkinakis, which finished at 4am, a situation Murray described as ridiculous. Scheduling for the John Cain Arena will remain the same, however, leaving scope for a repeat of the late finishes.

“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,” Tiley added.

Cynical tennis fans will notice that the move means there are now 52 sessions to sell tickets for across the Australian Open’s three premier courts, up from 47 sessions in previous years.

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