Rod Laver Arena, Tennis Events, Surface History and More

Rod Laver Arena serves as a multipurpose facility for the Australian city of Melbourne, Victoria. The arena serves as the principal venue for the inaugural Grand Slam tennis tournament of the year, the Australian Open.

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Rod Laver Arena Street View

How its Name Came into Being

Establishing in 1985, the arena was under construction as a replacement for the ageing Kooyong Stadium. It was concluded in 1987 with an expenditure of AU$94 million that time. It was inaugurated for Australian Open on January 11, 1988.

The arena, which was initially designated as the National Tennis Centre at Flinders Park in 1988, has undergone two official name changes. Initially in 1996, under the name Centre Court, and once more on January 16, 2000, in remembrance of Rod Laver, one of the finest tennis players of all time and three-time Australian Open champion.

John Cain Arena
Margaret Court Arena

Capacity and Key Features

Rod Laver Arena has a total seating capacity of 14,820; with floor seating, the venue can accommodate as many as 14,200 people for concerts and 15,400 for sporting events such as basketball, to which additional seats are added around the court. At present, the arena hosted more than 1.5 million visitors annually.

With the installation of a retractable roof, the arena was the first of its kind in Australia and the first tennis venue in the globe.

It is also the second largest indoor arena in Australia, after the Sydney Super Dome, which has a capacity of 21,032. During periods of extreme heat or precipitation, competitors are able to resume their games due to the retractable roof of the arena.

The Hawk-Eye electronic system, which is installed in Rod Laver Arena, permits tennis players to contest the decisions of umpires regarding rulings made during championships.

What Surface does Rod Laver Arena Have

From 1988 until 2007, the surface of the court at the Australian Open and on Rod Laver Arena was Rebound Ace, which was coloured green and played relatively slow. The surface was also blamed for many injuries in the Australian Open, with many players saying that the surface became sticky in hot weather, making it difficult to play on.

In 2008, the surface was changed to Plexicushion, and painted blue. The surface is similar in qualities to DecoTurf, the field used in the US Open. This has more padding and more give than Rebound Ace. In 2019 the surface was changed again to Greenset, though kept its blue look and similarities to the Plexicushion.

It has also had a portable grass court in use, during the 1993 Davis Cup semifinals, 2001 Davis Cup final and the 2003 Davis Cup final.

Development History

It was revealed in June 2015 that the venue would be getting new panels on the outside and fans areas inside, like bars and other facilities. The renovation was the main part of the second stage of $338 million improvements to the Melbourne Park area.

The stage also included a new media and administration center and a walking bridge connecting Melbourne Park to Birrarung Marr. The building process began in April 2016.

As part of the renovation, a new main entrance looking east was added, along with more public concourse space and other features meant to “open up” the venue and give fans better services and entry points.

A new Player Pod with four levels was built to give athletes at big events like the Australian Open more room to train, get treatment, heal, eat, and relax. There were also improvements made to the venue’s roof so that it could be closed for bad weather in five minutes instead of thirty. It was finished being fixed up in late December 2018.

What Events Does Rod Laver Arena Hosts

The Australian Open at Melbourne Park is centred on Rod Laver Arena, which has also served as the venue for ballet, motorcycling super-crosses, basketball, conferences, and World Wrestling Entertainment events, in addition to tennis. Aside from tennis, a portion of the southern lower seating basin is retracted to accommodate a stage or special floor level seating during concerts and sporting events.

Tennis Events Including the Australian Open

Annually, Rod Laver Arena serves as the venue for the Australian Open tennis championships’ main arena. Rod Laver, whose name appears on the arena, is a frequent guest of distinction at championship events and has on multiple occasions presented the trophy to the men’s singles champion. Laver is regarded by many as the preeminent athlete of his generation and one of the greatest athletes of all time.

Rod Laver Arena played host to Australia’s renowned Davis Cup triumphs in 2003. The semi-final and final were played in the arena, and it was there that Australia triumphed and earned their 28th Davis Cup championship.

Other Sports and Entrainment Events Includes:

  • Basketball
  • Swimming
  • 2006 Commonwealth Games
  • WWE, WCW, WW All-Stars
  • World Cup Skateboarding
  • Netball
  • UFC
  • National Hockey League (NHL)
  • Melbourne Esports Open League of Legends, Overwatch and Rainbow Six Siege
  • Music Concerts

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