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From record holders to live gigs: 5 things you didn't know about Australian Open 2020.

Tennis Australia
Thanks to our brand partner, Tennis Australia

The Australian Open is undoubtedly one of the most exciting sporting events of the year, especially if you’re seeing it live, up close and personal.

From January 20 to February 20 at Melbourne Park, the world’s greatest tennis talent will battle it out on court, all vying to win one of the most prestigious Grand Slams in the world.

The buzz isn’t just in the stadiums, though. It’s all around – from the kids’ activity-filled AO Ballpark to the food outlets to the big screens showing off the must-watch matches to people enjoying the peak of the Melbourne summer.

Whether you’re the biggest tennis fan or a first-timer, here are five facts you need to know before you go to the Australian Open.

1. The biggest Grand Slam winners are out to break records.

serena-williams-australian-open
Serena Williams has won the Australian Open seven times between 2003 and 2017. Image: Getty.

There's a lot at stake, this year. Historically speaking, the Australian Open audience has witnessed some of professional tennis’ most outstanding moments.

Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic have delivered many of them - they've each won the title a whopping seven times.

Technically, Australian Margaret Court won the women's singles 11 times if we include the earlier years of the Australian Open when it was known as the Australian Championships (it became the Australian Open we know and love today back in 1969).

If Serena Williams wins, she will equal Margaret Court's record of 24 Grand Slam singles' titles, tying to become the biggest winner in history. If Rafael Nadal wins, he will equal Roger Federer's record for 20 Grand Slam titles.

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2. There are a total of 360 ball kids at Australian Open 2020.

For many young people it’s a dream come true to watch their tennis idols play live before their eyes. A total squad of 360 ballkids, selected from 2500+ applicants, make up the Australian Open’s ball kids mix - so they get to live this dream.

Ball kids are selected to participate based on Australian Open criteria and age (12 to 15 years only for the Open). The majority of ball kids are Aussies but this year we will see a few fortunate international debut representatives from countries such as Korea, France, India and China.

3. The kids' zone is four times bigger than before.

The AO Ballpark is back again in 2020 and it's four times bigger than last year. Open from 10am to 7pm (keep in mind times change on the finals weekend), this purpose-built play arena has a huge rage of adventures and activities on offer for anyone that enters.

Even if you're not seeing a match in the stadiums, there's a $5 Kids' Ground Pass that gives them access to the outdoor courts (including Melbourne Arena), the AO Live Stage, the AO Ballpark and the new Practice Village.

The under-10 set will love time spent in the all-new Aqua Play Park (it’s summer after all), visits to the LEGO and Duplo tables, and a chance to meet the globe’s greatest tennis stars at Autograph Island.

Mark down January 23 for ANZ Tennis Hot Shots Day - the first 7000 Kids' Ground Passes are free.

4. There's a special bushfire relief concert with huge names.

 

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Australians have watched in horror as our country faces one of the most horrific bushfire disasters we've ever seen.

The AO Music for Relief concert is a great way to help raise money for the many communities in need right now, featuring performances from headliner Jessica Mauboy, as well as Montaigne and Lily Papas.

It all starts from 3pm on Sunday, January 19 the day before the Australian Open, held at the AO Live Stage (Jessica Mauboy performs at 7.30pm). Tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for kids, with all proceeds going to the Red Cross Appeal to support their bushfire relief work.

5. Date night's covered too.

If you thought the tennis was just about sitting eating a packet of chips in the stands, think again. The Australian Open has called upon some of country's best restaurants to provide gourmet dining experiences us adults can really appreciate. There's food from Rockpool, Nobu, Gazi, Sun Kitchen and Penfolds Magill Estate Restaurant. The AO Chef Series will feature exclusive evening events with matching food and wine degustations. Sounds like a date, right?

We mentioned the AO Live Stage earlier - there are performances throughout the Australian Open featuring a major line-up of talent like Billy Idol, Jessica Mauboy, The Veronicas, Kate Miller-Heidke and Matt Corby. Some events are 18+, while some allow kids if they're with parents.

If you've kids, you might also want to put them in the AO Kids Club, which is perfect for children aged five to 12 years. It features extended opening hours from 9am to 9pm, from Thursdays to Sundays, meaning the adult folk are able to plan ahead for a relaxing evening of dinner and drinks, or watching a match in the stadium without the worry of a tired and restless child on your hands.

So now you know what's happening at Australian Open 2020. Who will be crowned the winner? Will our homegrown star Ash Barty make it the finals and take out the title? Will Novak Djokovic continue his winning streak off the back of his 2019 win? And will you be there to lap up the excitement in person?

All will be revealed when it kicks off on January 20.

For tickets, visit ticketmaster.com.au/ausopen.

Feature image: Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open 2019. Image: Getty.

Additional reporting by Adam Bub.

Tennis Australia

Australian Open 2020 takes place from 20 January – 2 February. The AO Ballpark presented by Emirates is open every day of the Australian Open between 10am – 7pm with a huge range of activities for kids of all ages! For more information on everything on offer for kids and families at the event, please visit ausopen.com. Or to book your Australian Open tickets including the $5 Kids Ground Pass, please visit ticketmaster.com.au/ausopen

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