The grand plan to revamp the home of the Australian Open
A STATE-of-the-art redevelopment is being served up to make the home of the Australian Open the best grand slam venue in the world.
Features of Melbourne’s tennis precinct include a new public piazza, sunken show court, function centre and eastern entrance.
A new court to seat 5000 fans will be built between Rod Laver and Hisense arenas as part of the next phase of the Melbourne Park expansion.
Two more courts to seat another 2000 spectators and a new grassed viewing area are also planned as event directors aim to capitalise on record crowds and improve the fan experience during the popular tennis event.
Exclusive images obtained by the Herald Sun give a preview of the grand vision.
The $338.1 million stage two of the redevelopment is expected to be finished by 2021; however, a new footbridge from the CBD to the precinct will be open in time for the January 2017 tournament.
For stage three, developers will turn their attention to the Central Terrace — a new concourse topped by a wavelike terrace roof. It will provide a new entrance to Rod Laver Arena, which will house bars, restaurants and shops.
Fans attending next year’s Open will be encouraged to enter from the city side of the precinct or through gates between Grand Slam Oval and Hisense Arena.
But in years to come they will also be able to enter through the doors of a futuristic Rod Laver Arena facade leading to the terrace.
Australian Open events and facilities director Tom Larner said the redevelopment would create a “spine’’ throughout the site which would make it easier to navigate and enjoy.
“Stage three is really the heart of the whole precinct,’’ he said. “A big part of stage three is finding connectivity right through the site.”
Show court one will be built with big screens and digital technology, eventually replacing practice courts used by layers like Roger Federer and Andy Murray.
Up to three times more fans will be able to watch their heroes go through their paces under the revamped plans, to be reviewed by the State Government next year.
“Especially in the first week of the tournament, to have another 5000-seat show court in a central position is a significant development,’’ Mr Larner said.
A children’s area will be set up for next year’s Open as well as a new music zone at Birrarung Marr.
An improved loading bay is being built at Rod Laver Arena to reduce the time it takes to move concerts in and out of the venue.
Better equipment rigging facilities and automated retractable seating that can be set up in a matter of hours are also being built for the multipurpose stadium.
The Olympic Boulevard side of the site will feature vast expanses of open space, public meeting places and concourses to other parts of the precinct.