Melbourne and its Infrastructure Ready for the Australian Open

The Australian metropolis continues to grow and welcomes 2024 with the first Grand Slam of the year.

Melbourne is ready to become the new capital of Australia in terms of popularity. The beginning of 2024 features an event on the schedule capable of attracting hundreds of thousands of people to the city, millions of viewers worldwide, a multitude of sponsors, and new business opportunities created by the powerful networking phenomenon activated around high-profile sports events. And this year, more than ever, all eyes will be on the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the global tennis calendar.

All the ingredients are in place: the announced return after a year of absence from the playing fields of Rafa Nadal, the showdown with his super rival Novak Djokovic, and the extraordinary rise of new champion-icons like Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner. To prevent prolonged nighttime matches, the tournament organizers have decided, for the first time, to add an extra day to the event, commencing on Sunday, January 15, and concluding on Sunday, January 28.

Infrastructure in service of a grand event: the Melbourne Park

The city has worked hard in recent years to create infrastructure capable of supporting the exponential increase in traffic, accommodation, and entertainment. Everything is ready at Melbourne Park, a complex of stadiums and training courts, including the prominent Rod Laver Arena, named after the Australian tennis champion Rodney George Laver, now 85 years old. Melbourne Park, inaugurated in 1988 to replace the old facilities used in the city since 1905, has undergone various significant modernization and expansion interventions over the years.

In April of last year, the Australian Bureau of Statistics declared Melbourne, in its longstanding rivalry with Sydney, the most populous city in the country, with 4,875,400 inhabitants, approximately 18,700 more than Sydney. Sydney contested the census classification, attributing it to the inclusion of a peripheral area of Melbourne in the count. However, the growth trend is evident for the Victorian city, adding more than one hundred thousand residents to its perimeter each year.

A growing metropolis

Major players in the infrastructure sector, such as Webuild, which constructed the Melbourne Underground City Loop in the ’70s and ’80s, have worked to increase citizens’ mobility and promote economic and demographic expansion, while simultaneously enhancing the efficiency of the metropolitan railway and road network.

Tennis has acted as a catalyst for development in this area of the continent, extending to Brisbane, where the series of matches dedicated to the preparation of the Grand Slam in Melbourne will open from New Year’s Eve until January 7. After Brisbane, Adelaide will host a tournament from January 8 to 13, completing a trio where the world’s tennis kings will draw attention to Australia in terms of both audience and business.

In the meantime, architects and engineering firms are increasingly focusing on the possibility of expanding Melbourne Park, which already ranks third globally, according to data released by the organization. The Rod Laver Arena ranks third in the world for revenue derived from ticket sales and sixth for attendance levels. Proposed structures for the redevelopment of the sports complex include the construction of a new connecting pavilion between the stadiums, improvement of seating comfort while maximizing accessibility, and a network of services to enhance mobility around the sports complex.