Latest News

Back to Latest News back

 

What court surfaces will the Australian Open be played on?

What court surfaces will the Australian Open be played on?
January 19, 2020

With the Australian Open tournament starting tomorrow, Australasian Leisure Management has learned of a number of issues relating to the surfaces being used for Tennis Australia’s summer events.

Key is that many of the court surfaces used for the first Grand Slam of the year and the recent ATP Cup are not an all-new surface as Tennis Australia has seemingly implied, but are merely a coating over pre-existing surfaces that could have a significant impact on playability, behaviour of the ball and player comfort.

In July last year, prompted by inquiries from Australasian Leisure Management, Tennis Australia revealed that, following a tender process, it had appointed Spanish company GreenSet Worldwide as its “official court surface supplier, beginning this summer”.

It advised that, notwithstanding the change, “the Australian Open court surface and colour - the iconic blue cushioned acrylic hard court - will remain the same” and that “the GreenSet Worldwide team of international experts in process and application will work with Tennis Australia to ensure a successful rollout for Australian Open 2020 and events around the country.”

These events have included the new ATP Cup in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney, the new ATP/WTA tournament in Adelaide, and the Brisbane International and Hobart International.

While Tennis Australia’s July 2019 announcement would seem to suggest that GreenSet surfaces would be used for all of Australia’s ‘summer of tennis’ events, laying multiple new surfaces at half a dozen locations in a period of less than six months was clearly an impossibility.

The reality in many cases has seen GreenSet operatives apply acrylic coatings on top of the existing surfaces with the first all-new GreenSet surface having been the temporary court installed - by an all-Spanish team - for the Fed Cup final at Perth’s RAC Arena in November.

Temporary GreenSet courts are also understood to have been installed at the show courts at Melbourne Park for the Australian Open: the Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne Arena and Margaret Court Arena.

However, in some case the application of the coating has proved problematic. In advance of the recent ATP Auckland Open/ASB Classic, at the ASB Tennis Centre, an Australian Open lead-in series event, the acrylic coating lifted from the previous surface, requiring on-court repairs.

In addition, during the ATP Cup, Australian star John Millman fumed about the state of the court at the Queensland Tennis Centre, when he felt it caused him to take a tumble during his ATP Cup clash against Michail Pervolarakis of Greece.

In an incident dubbed ‘sandgate’, Millman called for officials to check sand near the baseline after he slipped over and could be heard saying to himself “there’s sand there, there’s f***ing sand there.”

In use at Melbourne Park since 2008, for the Australian Open, Australasian Leisure Management understands that the Plexicushion surfaces remain in situ on many courts to be used for the Australian Open, but that they now seemingly sit beneath a new acrylic coating from GreenSet.

Whether this is appreciated by tennis stakeholders and fans remains to be seen, but it does have wide implications.

First is safety. In the way that Lleyton Hewitt (now captain of Australia’s ATP Cup team) was a repeated and vocal critic of the Australian Open’s former surface as a player and John Millman was unhappy during the ATP Cup, will incidents and possible injuries tarnish the reputation of the Australian Open and all associated with it?

Second is consistency. In the way that the Australian Open’s use of Plexicushion from 2008 has seen tennis centres and clubs install the familiar blue surface for uniformity, will all these surfaces now be replaced by GreenSet surfaces?

Then there is the issue of cost. Over recent years courts at Melbourne Park have been replaced on a court-by-court basis, with courts used for the Australian Open at the Melbourne Tennis Centre having been through a rolling program of replacement.

This has also ensured that the Melbourne Tennis Centre has never been completely closed to users – other than during the Australian Open.

However, if there is to be an accelerated total replacement of Melbourne Park’s tennis courts within the five-year duration of the Tennis Australia/GreenSet partnership, then additional costs may well have to be factored in.

GreenSet Worldwide, which won the contract to provide court surfaces after, what Tennis Australia called “an extensive tender process”, is owned and operated by former Spanish player Javier Sanchez Vicario.

Neither Tennis Australia or GreenSet Worldwide have responded to requests for comment on this matter.

Note: In cushion tennis surfaces, ‘playability’ should be consistent regardless of surface, with cushioning being about shock absorption of players’ movement thus providing more ‘comfort’.

Images courtesy of Tennis Australia/GreenSet Worldwide/Facebook. Lower image shows a GreenSet court in use for Les Petits As - Le Mondial Lacoste European Junior Tour event in France.

About the author

Nigel Benton

Co-owner / Publisher, Australasian Leisure Management

Nigel Benton is the co-owner and publisher of Australasian Leisure Management, Australia and New Zealand’s only magazine for professionals in all areas of the leisure industry. Having established the magazine in 1997, shortly after his relocation to Australia, he has managed its readership rising to over 11,500 and its acceptance as the industry journal for professionals in aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues.

As of 2020, he has launched the new Asian Leisure Business website.

Among a range of published works and features, his comments on a Blog (blogspot) from 2007 to 2011, when this website went live in its current form, may be interesting to reflect back on.

Click here to connect with him via LinkedIn.

Read more from this author

Related Articles

14th January 2020 - Melbourne’s poor air quality impacts Australian Open qualifier event

27th December 2019 - Leading global brands partner with ATP Cup

27th November 2019 - Upgrade at Sydney’s Ken Rosewall Arena to be ready for January’s ATP Cup

31st October 2019 - Ash Barty backs Tennis Australia campaign to encourage teenage girls to stay in sport

9th September 2019 - Latest stage of Melbourne Park redevelopment now complete

26th July 2019 - Tennis Australia to roll out new court surfaces across the nation

25th July 2019 - Tennis Australia to change hardcourt surface for Australian OpenĀ 

18th June 2019 - Fed Cup tennis final to be played in Perth for first time since 1971

6th June 2019 - Tennis Australia commits to United Nations climate change action

29th March 2019 - Hopman Cup to end in Perth in favour of men only ATP Cup tournament

23rd March 2019 - New information screens help guide fans home from Melbourne Park events

21st January 2019 - Tennis Australia and Universal Tennis reveal major ratings partnership

10th January 2019 - Melbourne Park ready for 2019 Australian Open

7th January 2019 - Sydney to stage finals of new ATP Cup event

23rd April 2018 - Tennis Australia looks to gain management control of Melbourne Park

18th January 2018 - Melbourne Park venues must be designed to cope with Australian Open heat

8th January 2018 - Revamped Melbourne Park ready for 2018 Australian Open


Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.

 

supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

Tim Batt Water Solutions

Tim Batt Water Solutions are at the very forefront of the commercial aquatic business in Australia, with over 30 years specific experience supplying and installing chemical control and dosing…

read more

Aquatics / Environment / Recreation / Technology / Venues

 
 

Enta Australasia

As of the 1st July 2018, Enta Australasia Pty Ltd/Best Union has been rebranded as VIVATICKET Pty Ltd.  Click here to view the VIVATICKET Pty Ltd listing.  19th July 2018 - ENTA…

read more

Technology / Ticketing / Venues

 
 

Anti Wave International

Anti Wave International is the original suppliers of top performance swim, aquatic sports, leisure and pool programming equipment. Founded in 1971, Anti Wave International is proud of its…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Sport

 
 

SeatGeek Asia Pacific

SeatGeek is a search engine and mobile-focused ticket marketplace that allows fans to buy and sell tickets for live events. As of August 2018, SeatGeek has exited the Australian, New…

read more

Entertainment / Sport / Technology / Ticketing / Venues

 
 

Smart Connection Consultancy

Smart Connection Consultancy is a boutique sport and recreation consultancy who has become one of Australia’s leading advocates for the use of synthetic sports surfaces as a vehicle to grow…

read more

Consultants / Recreation / Sport / Surfaces

 
 

Pricemark Pty Ltd

Pricemark supplies a wide range of custom branded membership & RFID access products for the Health & Leisure Industry. 

read more

Access

 
 

@leisure Planners

@leisure is a team of experienced leisure, aquatic and sports facility managers and planners, with market modelling, sports management, recreation planning, business and GIS qualifications. We have…

read more

Consultants

 
 

PRIAVA

About Priava's Technology -  Priava is a cloud-based and centralised venue and event management system aimed at venues of all sizes. With its familiar and easy-to-use web interface, the…

read more

Attractions / Billing / Entertainment / Events / Technology

 
 
 
 

get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business