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By Richard Pagliaro | Tuesday, October 3, 2023


The 2024 Australian Open is set for a historic Sunday start and will join Roland Garros as a 15-day Grand Slam tournament.

Photo credit: Robert Prange/Getty

The Happy Slam is extending the party.

The 2024 Australian Open will feature a historic Sunday start, joining Roland Garros as the second 15-day Grand Slam tournament.

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Organizers announced the Sunday start today saying the decision was driven in part by several late-night finishes that can drain players and fans.

The Sunday start provides greater flexibility for schedule makers spreading the first round out over three days instead of the traditional two days.

“We’ve listened to feedback from the players and fans and are excited to deliver a solution to minimize late finishes while continuing to provide a fair and equitable schedule on the stadium courts,” Australian Open Tournament Director Craig 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.

“Every year our team works hard to bring fans an event that feels new and exciting, and this is another opportunity to grow what is already the biggest annual sporting event in the world in January.”

The 2024 Australian Open is set for January 14-28th. Tickets go on sale on Thursday, October 12th.

AO officials say the Sunday start "increases the number of AO sessions in the three arenas from 47 to 52. The day session at Rod Laver Arena and Margaret Court Arena will feature a minimum of two matches, down from three, to limit the potential of late finishes. Night sessions will continue to feature a minimum of two matches and the John Cain Arena schedule also remains the same."

Ten-time champion Novak Djokovic is reigning AO men's champion and world No. 1 Aryna Sabalenka is defending Australian Open women's champion.

Interestingly, the Australian Open, which features three stadium courts with retractable roofs, joins Roland Garros as the second 15-day Slam.

There has been growing speculation the US Open will also follow suit and expand to 15 days. 

Novak Djokovic's successful hunt for history and 19-year-old Coco Gauff's dramatic run to her maiden major championship captivated US Open fans who flocked through the gates at Flushing Meadows.

The 2023 US Open set two- and three-week attendance records and becoming the first Grand Slam to welcome more than 950,000 spectators over a three-week period. The US Open welcomed 957,387 fans over the 20 days encompassing the Main Draw and Fan Week, a near 8-percent increase over 2022.

It is believed US Open officials are targeting a 1 million attendance mark as their tennis holy grail.

If the US Open follows the AO and Roland Garros with a Sunday start, it would almost certainly eclipse its magic 1 million mark.

Tournament organizers have long maintained that a Sunday start makes sense because fans are off of work and school on Sunday and can attend matches or watch on TV creating instant energy and buzz whereas a Monday start, at some Slams, can feel dead as stadium seats are sometimes empty in Monday morning majors.

Players counter they are now being asked to do an extra day of work without compensation (though Slams have been increasing prize money since the pandemic ended) and even adding one extra day shortens an already sparse off-season requiring them to prepare earlier or risk injury Down Under.  


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