Australian Open breaks grand slam attendance record

Featured image credit: Mitchell Luo on Unsplash

Featured image credit: Mitchell Luo on Unsplash

This year’s Australian Open set a new record attendance for a grand slam tennis tournament, as 902,312 fans turned out across three weeks of competition.

The figure includes the tournament itself and the qualifying events, which attracted 63,120 fans.

The main tournament welcomed 839,192 fans through the gates, breaking the Australian Open’s previous record of 812,174, which was set in 2020.

The record-breaking figures have been set despite the absence of retired stars such as Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Ashleigh Barty, while Nick Kyrgios and Naomi Osaka were among the high-profile players who did not compete.

Organisers announced in October that they were targeting an attendance of 900,000 for this year’s tournament as part of plans to eventually attract one million fans to Melbourne Park.

The Australian Open took place from January 16-29 and went ahead without COVID-19 restrictions for the first time since the onset of the pandemic.

Tournament director Craig Tiley told the Melbourne Age newspaper: “We thought there would not be as quick a recovery from COVID as there has been. Our CSAT [customer satisfaction] score is higher than it was in our most successful year which was 2020.”

He added: “We will eventually hit a million people through the gate, and that’s going to be our next target. I don’t know if it will be next year but it is going to be pretty soon.”

New features for the tournament included a beach bar with an elevated second-storey DJ platform, the AO Tennis Club, and a Finals Festival Ground Pass, which granted access to Kia Arena for feature performances from local and international artists.

The attendance figure surpassed crowd numbers for the main draw of the other three grand slams in 2022. Wimbledon attracted 515,164 fans, the French Open welcomed 613,500, and 776,120 attended the US Open.