The Australian Open is the highlight of each Australian summer. Thousands of people descend on Melbourne, Victoria for the first Grand Slam tennis tournament of the season, to see their favourite players perform. Accessibility at the Australian Open has always been excellent, but with Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott’s strong advocacy, this year might be the best yet.
Accessibility at Australian Open 2024
The Australian Open offers a range of accommodations and services to ensure that people of all abilities are included at the tournament.
All three entrances to the Australian Open are accessible: the Garden Square entrance (for seating in Rod Laver Arena and Margaret Court Arena), the Grand Slam Oval entrance (for refreshments at the Grand Slam Oval and seating in the John Cain Arena), and the City entrance (for family fun at the AO Ballpark).
Tennis Australia has partnered with Travellers Aid to provide assistance and support for people with disabilities getting to, from, and around the Australian Open 2024. Assistance is available at Flinders Street Station and Southern Cross Station, a number of Yarra Tram stops, and from the accessible car park area at the National Tennis Centre. Travellers Aid also has a limited number of wheelchair rentals available for attendees. Phone ahead on 0498 023 959 to speak to the on-site coordinator.
There are two Changing Places facilities available at the Australian Open 2024, in Rod Laver Arena (South West Concourse) and John Cain Arena (Southern Concourse). These facilities have height-adjustable adult-sized change tables, ceiling track hoist systems, central peninsula toilets, automatic doors (950mm clearance), and privacy screen.
A hearing augmentation system is also available to those who need it, in Rod Laver Arena, Margaret Court Arena, and John Cain Arena. Attendees can sign out a hearing assist receiver from the Information Point in each venue. For attendees with low vision, organisers have partnered with Vision Australia to provide tailored match coverage. Ball-by-ball commentary is available on AO Radio for attendees (though you must bring your own headphones to access the service).
For attendees with sensory needs, the Australian Open 2024 has sensory rooms available in the AO Ballpark and in the John Cain Arena. Staff wearing sunflower badges are specially trained to provide support to attendees with sensory needs.
There is more information, with accessibility and sensory venue maps, available on the Australian Open 2024 website.
Australian Open 2024 All Abilities Day
After the roaring success of the inaugural All Abilities Day last year, organisers are bringing it back for the Australian Open 2024. This event showcases and celebrates the diverse range of opportunities available for all members of the community to experience tennis and enjoy the Australian Open.
The Australian Open 2024 All Abilities Day will take place on Tuesday 23 January. A major exhibition match at the Kia Arena will showcase the best of Wheelchair Tennis, Para Standing Tennis, Blind and Low Vision Tennis (BLV), Deaf and Hard of Hearing Tennis (DHOH), and tennis for Players with an Intellectual Impairment (PWII). Players include former world No. 1 Dylan Alcott, and comedian Adam Hills.
Attendees will also be able to access the family-friendly activities at the AO Ballpark before it opens to the public.
Find out more about the Australian Open 2024 All Abilities Day on the Australian Open website.
Mastercard’s Accessible Ballkid Program
Even though the world-ranked players are the big draw card, the Australian Open 2024 couldn’t happen without the ballkids. The opportunity to be a ballkid is now finally available to kids who live with disabilities, thanks to a pilot program funded by Mastercard.
Eleven-year-old wheelchair user and Junior Wheelchair Tennis Champion Sonny Rennison is the inaugural participant in the pilot program. “I have never seen a wheelchair ballkid before, so I thought it would never happen which made me sad when I was younger,” he said. “I am excited and thankful to have this opportunity and to hopefully encourage other kids in wheelchairs who might want to be ballkids but didn’t think they could, like me.
I hope we can show them that nothing is impossible and to keep pursuing their dreams.”
Find out more about the accessible ballkid program on the Mastercard website.
Australian Open 2024 Finals Festival
Celebrate an amazing tournament and send off summer with a bang at the Australian Open 2024 Finals Festival. Organisers open up the roof of the John Cain Arena, and welcome musical artists to the stage across three spectacular days.
We’re particularly excited for the 28 January line-up, which includes DJ Cooper Smith. With support from the Dylan Alcott Foundation, DJ Cooper Smith – who lives with cerebral palsy – communicates through his music, a mix of afro house, disco, melodic techno, and progressive house music.
Once you’re all danced out, you can head over to Grand Slam Oval to catch the finals on the big screen and soak up the atmosphere.
The Australian Open 2024 runs from 14 January – 28 January. Tickets to events are available through Ticketmaster.