Looking To Make More Money, Australian Open Will Go To 15 Days!

Looking To Make More Money, Australian Open Will Go To 15 Days!
By: Tennis X Posted On: October 02, 2023 View: 49

The French Open was the first to do it in 2006 I think, and now the Australian Openhas followed suit 18 years later going with a Sunday start, the tournament announced today.

Australian Open head Craig Tiley said the move was made to help reduce the chance of late-night finishes.

“We’ve listened to feedback from the players and fans and are excited to deliver a solution to minimise late finishes while continuing to provide a fair and equitable schedule on the stadium courts,” Tiley said.

“The additional day will achieve this, benefiting scheduling for fans and players alike. The first round will now be played over three days instead of two, also giving fans an extra day of unbelievable tennis, entertainment, food and family fun.”

The last line is the key: giving the fans another day to visit. Which means it was done — just like at the French — for another day of ticket sales and TV money to enrich the tournament. And based on the “feedback”, I’m sure the will also kick some of that extra day dough back to the players. How much? 75%? 50%? 25%? Who knows.

But let’s talk about the other “why”. With two matches starting at 7 or 7:30ish, how will this extra day “minimize late finishes”? How exactly does that work? Do the math.

If the first night match — usually a women’s — finishes at 9:30pm, then the best-of-5 men’s match starts at 10pm (of course after the 15-minute on-court interview), how are things really ending any earlier? What does the extra day have to do with that?

I get with just two matches during the day on Laver there will be much less of a chance of bumping into the night schedule and pushing it back, but if that night men’s match goes five sets, it’s likely going to be a post-midnight finish to the night session. That is unless they change the night start time up to six, maybe. But that’s not mentioned.

The US Open has been doing the two day, two night for years. And we still often end past midnight.

So this isn’t about earlier finishes. It’s money. (Oh yeah, and one less women’s match on Laver.)

Tiley also mentioned feedback. I understand finishing at 3am makes no sense, but were players and fans really asking for a Sunday start? I don’t recall any complaints of a Monday start, do you? Are Carlos, Iga and Coco sleeping better tonight knowing that now the next Grand Slam will start on Sunday? “Hooray!”

Again, start earlier or go to the French Open single-match night session model which is actually looking like the best option (and my opinion is all Slams will end up with this model, yes including Wimbledon).

Also consider now that the Australian has moved to 15, the French has been at 15 and Wimbledon just added a day, the US Open will have to follow suit and do something, maybe go to 16. And with the ATP/WTA events going to 10-14 days, the Slams will — in effort to continue to differentiate themselves — move to a 16 or 17 days.

Three-week tournaments? Get ready, they are coming. Tennis and money will find a way…

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