The Australian Open has extended partnerships with technology company Uber and whisky brand Canadian Club as the 2021 edition of the grand slam tennis tournament got underway yesterday (Monday) with limited crowds.

Uber has signed a multi-year extension to its deal and will retain its position as the official online food delivery app and official ridesharing partner of the tournament.

Users of the Uber app will receive access to exclusive pick-up and drop-off zones at Melbourne Park, while Uber Eats will entertain fans at home and in the stands with a new dedicated campaign.

Hundreds of Melbourne-based Uber Eat bicycle, car and motorbike delivery people will also be given tickets for the tournament as part of the agreement.

Canadian Club, meanwhile, will continue to serve as the official dark spirit partner of the Australian Open after signing a multi-year extension with the tournament.

As part of the agreement, the C.C. Racquet Club pop-up bar will return at the AO Hilltop location and will be open for the duration of this year’s event. The club will feature live tennis on the big screen, as well as music and Canadian Club drinks from the on-site bar.

A Canadian Club Bar will also feature on Grand Slam Oval, which is located in Melbourne Park’s Rod Laver Arena zone.

The Australian Open began yesterday, although only 17,922 fans were in attendance across all venues. Organisers were given the green light to admit up to 30,000 fans per day, which represents half of the usual attendance, in line with COVID-19 restrictions.

The 30,000 cap will be reduced to 25,000 for the final five days of the tournament, when fewer matches are taking place. The tournament will run until February 21.

The 17,922 attendance figure is in stark contrast to the opening day of the 2020 Australian Open, which was attended by 64,387 fans. Despite the restrictions, the tournament is still set to be the largest-attended event in Australia since the pandemic began.

Preparations for the Australian Open were hit after 72 players were forced to quarantine last month after entering the country on flights which included passengers that tested positive for COVID-19. Players were eventually able to leave quarantine and practice ahead of the start of the tournament yesterday.

The Australian Open was the only grand slam tournament to go ahead unrestricted last year. Wimbledon was cancelled outright, the US Open was held without fans, and the French Open went ahead with a small number of spectators.

The All England Club (AELTC), which organises Wimbledon, last week said that it was focusing on a “reduced capacity” edition of the tournament this year.

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