In 2008 the Australian Open transitioned from a cushioned hard surfaced called rebound ace to the cooler Plexicushion hard court you see today. The colour of the court also changed to a striking sea of blue.
The fresh, vibrant look of the blue courts — ‘Australian Open True Blue’ — was a winner for contemporising the brand of the Grand Slam of Asia / Pacific, but was there any practical reason for the change? “We had no choice – we had to,” Tournament Director Craig Tiley said bluntly.
“After a year’s long research, which we completed after Australian Open 2007, the results came back showing clearly that we had surface issues and we had base issues. The base issues were regarding difference thicknesses and ground moving over the past 20 years, and the surface issues were of consistency of bounce and consistency of pace.”
“We wanted a cushioned acrylic surface. We made that specific so it differentiates us from the other three Grand Slams.”
And so in consultation with the games greats - namely Lleyton Hewitt, Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova — the change was made, the consistency of pace and bounce improved and commendations by many in the tennis world came in by the dozen.