Australian Open announce 2024 schedule change to avoid late finishes

Julian Miller
By:
Julian Miller
03/10/2023
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Australian Open announce 2024 schedule change

Australian Open executives have announced that the 2024 tournament will start a day earlier in order to avoid long, late-night sessions. 

News Insights

  • The 2024 Australian Open will start January 14.
  • Executives hope change will stop late-night matches.
  • The tournament will be a 15-day event for the first time.
  • Venue limits have also been implemented

Australian Open director Craig Tiley has announced that the 2024 Australian Open will begin a day earlier. The tournament will now start on 14 January. This move is to address concerns over the amount of late matches during the last tournament. 

Organisers seeking schedule flexibility

Several Australian Open  tennis matches in recent years have started late in the evening and not finished until the early hours of the morning. One match in last year’s Australian Open featuring Andy Murray and Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis started at 10pm and did not finish until 4am the next morning. Murray, who won that match, called it a farce. 

Executives are hoping to avoid farces like this in the future by changing the Australian Open schedule to add an extra day of matches. 

By moving the start date of the 2024 Australian Open back one day to January 14 will “minimise late finishes while continuing to provide a fair and equitable schedule on the stadium courts,” says Australian Open director Craig Tiley. 

Schedule changes affect tournament logistics

On its face, moving the 2024 Australian Open up one day seems to be a simple thing. However, the logistical impacts of this are actually very complex.

The 2024 Australian Open will be the first 15-day event in the tournament’s history. Instead of two days, the first round will take place over a three day period. Additionally, certain venues will host less matches than they were originally planned to host. 

The day sessions at Rod Laver Arena and Margaret Court Arena will now only host a minimum of two matches. They were originally required to host a minimum of three matches. This is again a move made in hopes of reducing the potential of a late-finishing match occurring. 

While avoiding late night matches is the stated goal of the Australian Open’s organisers, no changes have been made to the amount of matches set to be held at night session venues. The John Cain Arena is still slated to host a minimum of two night session matches. 

Fans and player feedback key to changes

According to Australian Open director Craig Tiley, outcry from players and fans alike is the reason why he and the other tournament organisers have decided to start the Australian Open one day earlier. 

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,” said Tiley. 

Tiley also stated that “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.

Whether Tiley is right is obviously still to be seen. Either way, we expect the tournament schedule changes to be a major talking point heading into the 2024 Australian Open. The first of its kind tournament could help the favourites recover between matches and will likely bring in more fans.