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Third retractable roof operational at Australian Open venue
The commissioning of Margaret Court Arena’s new retractable roof has been marked by Victorian Government Ministers claiming that Melbourne Park now has the best facilities of any Grand Slam venue in the world.
Victorian Minister for Major Projects David Hodgett and Victorian Minister for Sport and Recreation Damian Drum made the claims at an event to publicly open the roof for the first time, with Minister Hodgett saying that Melbourne is now the only Grand Slam venue with three operable roof arenas.
Minister Hodgett stated “once again Melbourne leads the world with the best facilities in the best location in the best city.
“The new Margaret Court Arena roof means the Australian Open could run without serious disruption even if there was a heat-wave or it rained repeatedly for the entire fortnight.
“The new roof is also believed to be the fastest of its kind in the world – under ideal weather conditions the Margaret Court Arena roof can open or close in five minutes. As Tennis Australia points out, the new roof effectively ‘weatherproofs’ the Australian Open.
“Providing these sorts of unparalleled facilities is part of the Victorian Coalition Government’s strategy to keep the Australian Open in Melbourne for decades to come.”
Minister Drum said Margaret Court Arena was the final element of Stage 1 of the Melbourne Park redevelopment worth over $700 million.
He explained “the work we are doing as part of the Melbourne Park redevelopment will ensure the precinct remains one of the best facilities of its kind in the world.
“The Margaret Court Arena upgrade alone will add another 1,500 seats to the venue, with increased shade and superior retail and food and beverage outlets.
The arena’s exterior concourse will have more than 3,200 square metres of shaded space, further adding to the amenity and comfort of Australian Open patrons."
Minister Drum advised that with Stage 1 of the Melbourne Park nearly complete work is well underway for Stage 2 to begin next year, explaining "we have procured designers for the new Administration and Media Building and are currently procuring design teams for the refurbishment of Rod Laver Arena and the Batman Avenue bridge, with a strong response from designers at home and abroad.
“We are currently selecting a builder for the Administration and Media Building with construction expected to begin following the 2015 Australian Open."
Melbourne and Olympic Parks Chief Executive Brian Morris said the refurbished Margaret Court Arena and its operable roof were an excellent addition to the ever-expanding precinct, adding “Melbourne Park has always led the way with regard to innovation and the quality of our venues on the Grand Slam circuit, which is why it’s loved by the players and visitors alike.
“Beyond the Australian Open, Margaret Court Arena provides another exciting venue option for Melbourne’s enviable sport and entertainment calendar."
Tennis Australia Chief Executive Craig Tiley said the new-look venue was a major asset to the event.
Tiley concluded “thanks to the support of the Victorian Government, the Australian Open sets the standard in world class facilities and we are proud to lead the tennis world as the only Grand Slam tournament with three retractable roof stadiums.
“Both the players and fans already enjoy the unique atmosphere at Margaret Court Arena and it’s been the stage for some classic matches over the years.
The new retractable roof, additional 1,500 seats and the upgraded concourse promise to make it even more exciting.”
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