Australian Open 2023 will host the first ever All Abilities Day on Tuesday 24 January to celebrate and provide opportunities for all members of our diverse community to experience and enjoy the AO.
Former world No.1 Quad Wheelchair Tennis player and 2022 Australian of The Year Dylan Alcott was joined Tennis Australia Head of Players with Disability Danielle Gescheit, and current players including world No.3 Quad Wheelchair player Heath Davidson, Victorian Blind and Low Vision Tennis Players Adam Fayad and Robert Fletcher, ATC 2022 II-2 Women’s Singles Champion Olivia Sayers, and Junior Deaf/Hard of Hearing Player Ryder Smith to make the announcement at Melbourne Park today.
All Abilities Day will focus on recognising the many inclusive formats of tennis, and invite people who have vision, hearing, mobility, sensory and or intellectual disabilities to enjoy all that the AO has to offer in a safe and inclusive environment.
“It’s bloody awesome, the first Grand Slam to do this… disability is often the category that is left out, so to have an All Abilities Day is pretty special,” former world No.1 Quad Wheelchair Tennis player and 23-time Grand Slam champion Dylan Alcott AO said.
“Twenty percent of the Australian population have some form of disability, physical or non-physical, and they love tennis, and they deserve the opportunity to come, watch and play.
“All the work that has been done… I know my consultancy firm Get Skilled Access has been involved around things like seating, ticketing, social media… that’s pretty cool and leading the way for other sports and major events to hopefully follow. Everybody deserves the right to pick and choose what they do in their lives, and I hope lots of people with disabilities come and enjoy the AO.”
Coinciding with the start of the AO Wheelchair Tennis competition, which features an expanded draw for the world’s best players, All Abilities Day will include on-court opportunities for kids and adults from Tennis Australia’s disability pathways. These include Intellectual Disability (PwID), Down syndrome, neurodiverse, Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHoH), Blind or Low Vision, and people with Physical Disability and are designed to offer an on-court experience to anyone who would like to come and try the sport.
All Abilities Day will also raise awareness of the many AO initiatives that make the tournament one of the most accessible and inclusive events in the world.
Australian Open 2023 will also host the first-ever international Persons with Intellectual Impairment (PWII) and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Tournaments – to be played on the final three days of AO on the Western Courts.
“Tennis is an incredibly inclusive sport and making it accessible to people of all abilities is a vital part of the work we do year-round,” Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said.
“I’m delighted that through All Abilities Day at the AO we can showcase the many formats available of tennis available, and promote the opportunities that make the sport, and our event, welcoming and easy to access through community partnerships, activations, opportunities, and technologies.”
The day is part of the Grand Slams commitment to equity, inclusion and diversity, promoted through our themed days, and range of activations, ensuring everyone is welcome and the AO is truly #Open4All.
AO 2023 All Abilities and accessibility initiatives include:
- BindiMaps supported by Mastercard, providing wayfinding beacons highlighting key locations around the Melbourne Park precinct for people who are blind or vision impaired
- Action Audio supported by Mastercard, and led by Tennis Australia’s Dr Chatai Goncu in collaboration with AKQA, gives millions of vision impaired people the opportunity to experience matches in real time though AO Radio, using Tennis Australia’s real-time ball position data to make the speed, trajectory and placement of tennis balls audible. The program is supported by Vision Australia and Blind Sports & Recreation Victoria.
- Yarra Trams, in partnership with Traveller’s Aid Australia, supports passengers with a disability to travel to the AO by tram, providing trained staff to assist with transiting onto Yarra Tram services to and from Melbourne Park
- Dedicated Customer Experience workforce specially trained to support the inclusion of all patrons.
- Sensory and calm spaces
- Guide dog relief areas
- AusOpen.com/Accessibility webpage available here
- Accessibility Map available here
- First ever International Persons with Intellectual Disability tournament
- First ever international Persons who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing tournament
- Expanded AO 2023 wheelchair tennis draw
“Action Audio, Bindi Maps and Travellers Aid are great examples of our commitment to expanding on innovation, to provide access to the game, making the AO experience as welcoming, safe and inclusive as possible for everyone,” Tennis Australia Head of Innovation Machar Reid said.
Key All Abilities AO2023 tournament dates
- Monday 23 January: Wheelchair Draw
- Tuesday 24: AO 2023 Wheelchair Tennis competition starts
- Saturday 28 January: Wheelchair Tennis Finals
- Friday 27 – Sunday 29 January: AO PwII and DHoH international tournament
AO 2023 Inclusion Days
- AO First Nations Day – Wednesday 18 January
- AO All Abilities Day – Tuesday 24 January
- AO Pride Day – Friday 27 January