Melbourne hosts the world’s best tennis players for two weeks in January during the Australian Open. Our decision to visit Melbourne was heavily influenced by the opportunity to attend the Open and watch live tennis.
Like Mother Like Daughter
I grew up with a mom who is an avid tennis player. For as long as I can remember, we would watch every major tennis tournament on television—a habit that I have adopted in my adulthood. Even as we travel, I have continued to follow and watch the majors. Although we enjoy watching tennis on television, there is something great about watching live matches.
We’ve been to several majors in the past including the Australian Open several years ago with my parents. Knowing that we’d be in Australia again in January, we were able to plan ahead and purchase tickets online the day tickets went on sale.
Tickets to the main arenas can be quite expensive for the major tournaments. The nice thing about the main arena tickets is that you get to see 2-3 matches with each ticket which can be a full day of entertainment. The other option—and more affordable way—to see matches is to simply buy a “grounds pass” which allows you to watch as many matches as you’d like on the outer courts. You don’t get to see the biggest stars, but in the early rounds, the outer courts are where the more competitive matches are anyway.
Qualifying Matches Are Free
We actually stumbled upon the cheapest way to catch a few matches at the Australian Open. In the days leading up to the tournament, the courts around Melbourne Park are abuzz with qualifying matches. For four days, many young, up-and-coming players compete for entry into the Australian Open. The victorious players after three qualifying rounds earn a position to play in the Open. For example, this year there were 128 men vying for the 16 births into the men’s singles draw.
Not only can you see some quality tennis, but entry to the matches is free! It is also a chance to scout out some of the lower ranked players that may become the future stars of the sport. After learning that the qualifying rounds were underway, we spent an enjoyable afternoon at Melbourne Park watching free tennis! If we had realized that you could attend the qualifiers for free, we would have planned ahead to attend a few more matches.
So, if you are looking to watch quality tennis and see young stars at a budget- friendly price, consider arriving early to the Australian Open to watch some of the qualifying rounds. It’s a good way to warm up two weeks of tennis in Melbourne.