Craig Tiley, a master promoter who is also the director of the Australian Open tournament and the chief executive of Tennis Australia, is on the tout.
Since its relocation from Kooyong to city’s edge in 1988, Australian Open has been at lead of innovation, and another trial is being conducted this week. For the first time, TA is charging spectators to watch qualifying as part of a “three-week extravaganza of tennis and entertainment.”
Qualifying matches held the week before a grand slam are nothing new. However, Tiley has been spinning the sell on the campaign with more ferocity than Rafael Nadal does with his forehand.
“The program about boosting it to a three-week extravaganza is that we did have activities throughout this week, but they were somewhat ad hoc events, but now we are starting to connect everything,” Tiley said. “We are extending the duration of this event and preparing for the future. In Australia, the time of year is ideal, and this is only the first year of that growth initiative. “
An $80 million loan was arranged after TA’s cash reserves were depleted due to the cost of managing two Australian Opens during the pandemic. As TA paid off that debt, it also gave a glimpse into what was feasible.
The Australian Opens in 2021 and 2022 were followed by a number of competitions at Melbourne Park due to Covid-19 restrictions across the nation. These events drew a small crowd. However, some spectators were willing to pay to see events besides the Australian Open. A thought first came to mind.
With the Australian Open, TA hopes to reach an audience of 900,000 spectators, which is about 90,000 more than the previous record set in 2020. Why all the effort over the past month?
Specialized “Perfect Practice” sets with A-list celebrities are one of the initiatives this year. The main event will feature Nick Kyrgios versus Novak Djokovic on Friday night. Djokovic arrived in Melbourne yesterday, just one week after being expelled from Australia.
Practice sets are not a new feature, once more. However, the presence of officials and ball boys does bring a sense of formality that TA hopes will “enhance” the spectacle and increase sales. Before the main event, TA will host a regular kids’ day on Saturday and a Wednesday night charity fundraiser for Ukraine, both of which will be charged in 2023.
The Wednesday night events, the Friday night events, the Saturday daytime events, and the music and entertainment we currently offer will all be expanded in 24 and 25, according to Tiley.
When the men’s champion hoists the Norman Brookes Trophy on January 29 to conclude the Australian Open, the goal of 900,000 seemed far away on Monday.
There were 58 spectators present when Sydney teenager Jeremy Jin served a fault on Kia Arena to start the qualifying round as Tiley was about to begin his preview of the Open nearby. A few hours later, the crowd had doubled when Eugenie Bouchard, a Wimbledon finalist and the WTA Newcomer of the Year in 2009, took the court.
With injuries hampering him at age 28, Bouchard is currently ranked 327. The DJ chose to play Somebody That I Used To Know by Gotye as she entered Kia Stadium. To prevent that, the Canadians are making every effort. She lost to American teen Ashlyn Krueger 6-3, 1-6, 6-4, so she won’t be there when the big stars show up.
Which qualifying experience offers the best value for money is the question. Some fans, but not all, seemed to think so, according to a straw poll of fans scattered throughout the website.
The Australian Open tournament site was described as “phenomenal” by Andrew Lim, a Melbourne native who now resides in Westchester, New York, with his family. But he was among those who were taken aback by the admission charge.
“That is outrageous; when did they start charging for the qualifiers, do you know? I’m talking about the free US Open qualifying. The only reservation I have is that, he said. “I believe the first few days should be free if you want to draw people to your event. It’s how you show people what tennis is like. “
But Juri Roots, an Estonian who excelled as a junior player, loved the experience.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that it’s worth $10. Although it is obvious that you aren’t watching the best players, tennis is still played at a very high level, he added. “With Bouchard, for instance, she may not be performing at her peak right now, but she still made the Wimbledon final, so some legendary players are still present. “