Australian Open 2019: What's new at Melbourne Park this year?

Charlie Eccleshare
The Australian Open gets under way on Monday - Getty Images AsiaPac
The Australian Open gets under way on Monday - Getty Images AsiaPac

Final set tie-break

In a departure from tradition, the Australian Open will for the first time ever employ a final set tie-break in 2019

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

The tie-break will be a first-to-10 points affair rather than the usual first to seven, meaning all four of the grand slams have different ways of concluding matches. 

Despite the tournament organisers claiming they made the decision with the players' blessing, most who have been asked about it have said they were never consulted. 

New heat rule

To combat fears around players succumbing to Melbourne's brutal weather conditions, a new heat rule is in place this year. 

Once the heat gets up to 4.0 on the Australian Open's bespoke Heat Stress Scale, there will be a 10-minute break between the second and third sets in women’s matches, and between the third and fourth in men's. Play will be suspended on outdoor courts and the roof closed on the show courts should the reading reach 5.0 or above.

Shot clock and more Hawk-Eye

Following the lead of the US Open and the Next Gen ATP Finals, the Australian Open has introduced a shot clock for 2019. 

The clock counts down between each point to ensure players do not exceed the allotted 25 seconds. 

There will also be Hawk-Eye available on all match courts.

Increased qualifier size

The women's qualifying competition has been increased in size from 96 to 128, thereby bringing parity with the men's event. 

The change has been suggested for some time by those who want to see more female players given a chance of qualifying. 

The qualifiers also began a day earlier this year - on the Tuesday compared to the Wednesday in previous years. 

Record prize money

Another 10 per cent increase in the total prize pot means there will be a whopping £34.38m up for grabs in Melbourne.

The men and women's winners will earn £2.56m each - an increase of £24,000 from 2018 - while first-round losers will receive £28,410, which is down £490 on last year.

What to Read Next