The Australian Open will set another prize-money record, with an AUD $60.5 million prize money pool in 2019, further demonstrating a commitment to ensure players at all levels are rewarded for their dedication to the sport.
A range of player-friendly initiatives will also be introduced in 2019 following a period of extensive consultation with players and coaches.
Key on-court initiatives for Australian Open 2019 include:
- Prize money increased to AUD $60.5 million
- 25 second Serve Clock for all main draw matches
- Electronic Review System on all 16 match courts
- Maintaining 32 seeds in the main draw and in qualifying for both men and women
- Heat Stress Index to replace Extreme Heat Policy
- Increased Australian Open qualifying draw for women, from 96 to 128 players
- Qualifying tournament to start a day earlier, on Tuesday 8 January
- Continued trial of coaching in qualifying and juniors
- Tie Break Tens returns to MCA on Wednesday 9 January
- High-profile practice matches to be held at MCA on each day of qualifying.
“We’ve always prided ourselves on listening to the players, and this year we’ve taken our consultation to a whole new level,” Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said.
"Our team has spent a lot of time this year talking to players, coaches and their teams about what’s important to them, what they like and what changes they want to see.
“From these discussions, held at tournaments around the world, we’ve come up with some changes we know the players want, including the Serve Clock and Electronic Review on all match courts, making conditions more consistent across the precinct.
“We’ve increased the women’s qualifying draw to 128, in line with the men’s qualifying, removing what was really an historical anomaly, and we’re starting qualifying a day earlier.
“The 25-second Serve Clock will be introduced for all matches – we know there’s a move to speed up play and we’ll continue to work with the players on the best ways to do this.
“Coaching is an issue we’ve all spoken a lot about over the past couple of months, which is good. As a sport, tennis needs to decide the best way forward. We’ll continue the coaching trial during qualifying – for both men and women – as we progress discussions with the many stakeholders involved. The sport needs to have a consistent approach to all issues around coaching.
Entertainment, food and kid-friendly activities will again be a feature of the Australian Open, the biggest sports and entertainment event in Australia.
Off-court activities include:
- Australian Open Draw, a televised event open to the public at MCA on Thursday 9 Januar
- 15 Days of Music at AO Live Stage, with free beyondblue concert on Sunday 13 January
- Free AO Festival at Birrarung Marr, connecting the AO to the City of Melbourne
- The AO Ballpark returns three-times bigger and taking over the eastern side of the precinct with a giant waterslide, climbing walls, free entertainment and for the first time, professional onsite childcare
- The AO Inspirational Series on Thursday 24 January, celebrating leaders in women’s empowerment, diversity and inclusion
- NBL team Melbourne United take on the Illawarra Hawks in the AO Game at Melbourne Arena on Wednesday 23 January
- Australian Open Sports Film Festival, daily screenings of sports films at three locations across the precinct: AO Ballpark, Glasshouse Cinema and the AO Festival.