Australian Open Report Card 2019 - Fan Grade?

How we grade and compare Tennis Events

AO 2019 Vs US Open 2018?US Open is much better for American Tennis Fans and saves the 14-18 hour flight and cost each way. You'll see 95% of the same players. Only real positive is that Aussie Fans love following the rules and stay quiet when they are told...less boo'ing :)

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My Tennis Perspective

The following represents my own experience and do not reflect that of Tennis Australia nor the Australian Open.

I have been to all four grand slams in multiple years as well as most of the Masters 1000 Tennis Events multiple times. I try to give you a comparison to let fans know where to go and what to visit to maximize their time and money when visiting from out of town! I invest my own money to watch tennis and help other fans get the best experience possible. As part of media, I have been to a dozen press events and seen the coach's perspective on hundreds of pro-level matches over the year.

In December, I found some really cheap round trip tickets to go to Melbourne from LAX ~$750 and decided it was worth revisiting. I had visited in 2013 for the first time. I traveled solo as an American (Asian-American) to Melbourne and stayed at an AirBnB near Chinatown (just a few blocks from the Southern Cross train station).

The location was great because I had so much heavy camera gear to carry. I have stayed in the suburbs last time I was there but it is simply too many train transfers. I was able to visit Batman Park and the Eureka 88 floor tower, plus several of the great museums nearby.

As the Asian / Pacific Slam, it mainly caters to the national Australian Population. I would say there is less than a 15% Asian presence at this Slam from observation. The largest demographics of Asians fans were Japanese (Osaka and Nishikori supporters with their Japanese Flag). There were also Chinese / Taipei fans but they were much fewer in numbers. There were more Asian doubles players than singles players. The 1573 and Beijing Betty concessions tried to bring some Asian flavor to the tournament but was very limited.

From my location, I was able to take the free zone Tram about 4-6 stops to get to the Rod Laver stop and one more for the HiSense/Melbourne Arena. After about 3-4 hours, I could go back to rest and then catch some of the later evening session. However, the trams were also crammed full of people every single time I tried to use them. I found that it was a lot easier to simply walk once I crossed the bridge.

Note that the Canon CPS of Australia staff was unable to help loan equipment. The AO Hospitality service did not return our email for comments - they likely only want to sell luxury packages. I even got lost inside the AO and resorted to Google Maps offline because the GPS was so bad in downtown Melbourne.

2018-2019 Ranking out of 4 Grand Slams:
3rd Place (
Wimbledon, US, AO, French)
  1. Practice Courts with Grounds Pass: D
  2. Stadium Ticket Value: C
  3. Fun and Free Activities: A
  4. Kids Activities: B
  5. Security: D
  6. Food Quality: B
  7. Public Transportation: D

Environment / Weather
You get all 4 seasons in one day during the Summer in Melbourne. We had rain almost all day the first week, sandwiched between the roast hot 40 degrees C / 130+ F days at the beginning and end of the tournament. At night, you were best served to bring a sweater and long pants.

The Melbourne City has a lot to offer new fans with shopping galleries and many cusines. I ate at a new place for each meal and probably could do that for a month without repeating any.

Recommend visiting the Weribee Nature Preserve for a Safari if you have a car or the Melbourne Zoo. If you have a whole day to spend, then check out a surfing tour near the Great Ocean Road! There are many tour options near the Southern Cross station for pick up.

Tickets (C)

Grounds Pass (C-)

Prices: ~$40-$50/day USDAfter the first 2 days, there were very few top players spotted using the outside Public Viewing Areas. Also, the posted times that the players were supposed to show up, were often wrong and inaccurate. Granted, the players are not committed to coming at those times but this year it seemed that it was extra chaotic and much harder to see player practices on every day that I attended.

Stadiums (C)

Too many "stadiums" all split up with separate tickets entry rules.
Prime Example: Nishikori and Osaka were playing on Middle Sat (Cooper's Sat) when no exciting marque matches were listed until the last of the Day with Djokovic. But instead of being able to buy just the $150 Main Stadium ticket and offered first come, first serve privilages at Marget Court (like every other Slam) - they force you to buy ANOTHER Ticket to just to sit at Marget Court! I paid an extra $120 as not to waste my day...but see below about why to avoid Marget Court Arena.

There was Ridiculous upscale charge put on by the box office making it sound like there was only 1 seat left in the entire arena (a total lie) and told me to try to sell my original ticket online on Ticketek *after* the session had started. This a confusing mess for out of town ticket holders who bought their ticket well in advance.

Rod Laver (B+)
Laver has better viewing than the Arthur Ashe stadium. But that isn't saying much. True it has a roof, but the heat rule takes some minor Calculus and a minor in Meteorology to figure out if it will be open or close that day.

It is still very large build to navigate to your correct gate. Plus it is very hard to get good seat without paying $300+ for the Loge level prices rows.

Melbourne Arena (A-)
This is probably their best court. Even the Grounds passes have a queue to watch matches here if space is available. The stadium is properly rectangular and ease of getting food or watching a few games during intermission makes this a bonus.

Marget Court Arena (F)
This is probably the worst spectator court in all of tennis. In 2013, I tried to wait in a 1 hour queue and just gave up. It is NOT worth it plus the location inside is too crowded with no leg room either - my knees were banged up against the seat in front of me even though I'm only 5'4! It took almost 10 minutes for me to get to my correct seat. Usher did not even know the rules and customs for change overs, but was good at yelling at people sitting in empty seats.

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