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People travel from all over the world to go to the Australian Open tennis tournament. It is the first Grand Slam tennis tournament of the year, starting in January during the hot Australian summer.
If you are a tennis fan and want to experience everything that the beautiful country of Australia has to offer, attending the Australian Open (AO) is a must-do vacation. If you are interested in traveling down under for the AO, here’s a guide to help plan your trip to see this tennis tournament.
2021 Australian Open: COVID-19 Update
Last Updated: February 22, 2021
- The Australian Open is usually held in January, but this year it was in February, due to COVID-19.
- The 2021 Australian Open was held from February 8 – 21, 2021.
- The tournament allowed fans during week 1 until a citywide lockdown occurred due to a COVID outbreak.
- The tournament had zoned seating for each of the three major stadiums: Rod Laver Arena, Margaret Court Arena, and John Cain Arena (formerly Melbourne Arena).
About the Australian Open
The Australian Open has been around since 1905, so this professional tennis tournament has a long and illustrious history.
Where is the Australian Open?
The Australian Open takes place in Melbourne, Australia at Melbourne Park, which is part of the Melbourne Sports and Entertainment Precinct. It has been at this facility since 1988.
When is the Australian Open?
The Australian Open usually takes place in January, which is considered the country’s summer season. This year it was held in February, due to COVID-19. The 2021 Australian Open was held from February 8 – 21.
In relation to the three other big Grand Slam tennis tournaments, the Australian Open is the first one of the year to take place, followed by the French Open (May), Wimbledon (June), and the US Open (August).
The dates for the 2022 Australian Open are set for January 17 – 30, 2022.
Who are the Current Australian Open Champions?
The current champions of the 2021 Australian Open for singles are:
- Novak Djokovic (Serbia) for his 18th career Grand Slam title overall
- Naomi Osaka (Japan) for her 4th career Grand Slam title
For doubles, the 2021 champions are:
- Ivan Dodig (Croatia) and Filip Polášek (Slovakia) – Men
- Aryna Sabalenka (Belarus) and Elise Mertens (Belgium) – Women
The mixed doubles tournament champions for 2021 are:
- Barbora Krejčíková (Czech Republic) and Rajeev Ram (USA)
What Surface is the Australian Open Played On?
The Australian Open is played on a hard court surface made of a patented acrylic. This is considered a medium speed surface. The brand that made this specific surface is called GreenSet, and they replaced all the courts for 2020.
There are also eight clay courts that are used for practice at the sports complex, but these are not used in the tournament.
Australian Open Prize Money & Ranking Points
The total prize money for 2021 that the championship players received was a split of $61.95 million.
The champions in singles took home $2.13 million (USD). The doubles champions won $466,638 per team. Mixed doubles champions took home $115,275 per team.
The winners in each draw get 2000 points towards the men’s (ATP) and women’s (WTA) rankings. The runner-ups get 1200-1300 points. Here are the ranking points by round for both the singles and doubles draws of the Australian Open.
|Men’s ATP Points||Women’s WTA Points|
|Rd. of 16||180||240|
|Rd. of 32||90||130|
|Rd. of 64||45 singles | 0 doubles||70 singles | 10 doubles|
|Rd. of 128||10 singles | no doubles||10 singles | no doubles|
How to Get Tickets to the Australian Open Tournament
The Australian Open’s website has a pretty comprehensive web page on how to purchase tickets. They recommend you go through Ticketmaster or an authorized Ticketmaster agency. This is the most secure and safe way to purchase tickets for the event.
How Can I Get Tickets to See the Big Matches?
The Australian Open runs for two weeks, so if you want to see some of the biggest matches, you should book the days for the quarterfinals, semi-finals, and finals. That way you are more likely to see the biggest names, like Rafal Nadal or Australian native Ashleigh Barty.
There are three main arenas where the biggest matches will take place.
- Rod Laver Arena – reserved tickets only.
- John Cain Arena (formerly Melbourne Arena) – reserved lower-level tickets & ground pass access for upper-level seating.
- Margaret Court Arena – reserved tickets only.
Expect the biggest matches to take place on these three courts. If you have a grounds pass, you cannot access Rod Laver or Margaret Court.
Where to Stay in Melbourne for the Australian Open
One of the great things about the Australian Open is the location. Melbourne Park is walking distance from downtown Melbourne.
High-End Hotel Options
There are a couple of five-star hotels within a ten-minute walk of the John Cain Arena:
These hotels offer perks such as fitness centers, spas, and multiple restaurants. The Langham is especially opulent with crystal chandeliers and upscale decor. If you are used to staying at the Ritz Carlton, you’re going to want to experience this gorgeous property.
The Grand Hyatt Melbourne is where many of the players and media stay for the Australian Open. I had dinner there one night and saw Brad Gilbert, Pablo Carreno Busta, and a few other players. It is only a 15-minute walk from the tennis courts.
For a couple of budget friendly options, try:
The Ink Hotel is a stylish, modern place that’s comfortable and affordable. The Travelodge is super budget-friendly but always clean and efficient. Both of these options are less than a mile away from the Australian Open facilities.
Airbnb is an excellent alternative to hotels, and there are plenty of options in downtown Melbourne. You can rent out a room in someone’s home or an entire apartment or house if you need a lot of space. This is a great option if you want to save a little bit of money by eating in since most of these rentals have a kitchen facility.
Getting Around Melbourne
It’s very easy to get around Melbourne if you choose a hotel or Airbnb close by because you can just walk to Melbourne Park.
There is also a tram that operates around the city that is free for tourists that hold a ticket to the Australian Open. It mainly runs through route 70 which will get you right to Melbourne Park.
There is a taxi station located right on Olympic Blvd., which is by the Grand Slam Oval entrance to the Australian Open. That will make it very easy to hop in a taxi to get back to your hotel at non-peak times.
If you are staying in other parts of the city, there are three train stations within walking distance of Melbourne Park that can take you to different areas of the city.
If you want to get around faster, you can also call an Uber.
How to Make Your Australian Open Experience Great
In order to maximize your experience at the Australian Open, it’s important that you make plenty of time to get to matches before they start. This is a huge event that draws crowds of around 800,000 people each year.
To see the most tennis matches, purchase an “All Day Grounds” pass during the first week of the tournament.
My favorite days were Wednesday and Thursday because it wasn’t too crowded and there were tons of singles and doubles to watch. I arrived around 11 am and stayed until almost 11 pm.
When you want to see some of the bigger matches you have to buy seating at the three arenas: Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne Arena, and Margaret Court Arena. It will, of course, be more expensive but it’s worth doing for one day to see some of the biggest names in tennis.
What to Bring to the Australian Open
Don’t forget that it’s going to be summer in Australia this time of year, so here are some tips to stay comfortable.
- Check the weather. Melbourne is known for variable weather, so it can be very hot during the afternoon and cold at night.
- It is usually sunny. Wear a hat and bring sunscreen.
- It’s helpful to bring a refillable water bottle to save some money. They have fountains spread throughout the grounds.
Also, download the Australian Open App which will give you tournament updates and helpful tips on how to enjoy the AO.
How to Watch the Australian Open Tournament On TV
In the US, the Australian Open is on ESPN2, ESPN3, and the ESPN app.
- ESPN2 usually shows the matches on the bigger courts like Nadal, Djokovic, or Serena.
- Use the ESPN app or go to espn.com/watch/ to look for other matches.
- ESPN+ subscribers will have access to all matches for singles, doubles, and mixed doubles.
For other countries, see the Australian Open broadcasters page.