The Australian Open Is The Grand-Slam Of Engineering

What is the Australian Open and what’s so special about it?


“2008 Australian Open Tennis, Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne” by MD111 is marked with CC BY-SA 2.0.

By: Ella Wallinger, Journalist

Ever wonder what happens behind the scenes of a riveting tennis match where the winner comes back with a Grand-Slam record? Well to answer that question simply, engineering.

What is the Australian Open?

The Australian Open annual tournament held in Melbourne, Australia. This year it was held on January 30th, 2022. The reason why this Australian open is so significant is because Rafael Nadal won the tournament, breaking the record for the amount of grand-slams anyone has ever won. To acquire a grand slam means that in one year, a player has to win all four major tournaments, the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open. The title for most grand slams has gone back and forth between the top three players for years. The top three players being Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic. Currently, Nadal has the highest of 21, Federer has 20, and Djokovic has 20.

Rod Laver Arena

The fascinating thing about the Australian Open is that it is held in Rod Laver Arena. In recent years over 300 million dollars has been spent on renovations and new technology and the facility has current plans for more renovations! In fact, the renovations included the re-design of the Margaret Court Arena which won Aurecon an Australian Engineering Excellence Award. The Rod Laver arena is massive and has a maximum capacity of around 14,820, and is one of the largest in the world. It has thirty-nine courts, thirty-three of which are hard courts and the other six are clay courts.

The Design and its Purpose

The design of the arena is specifically designed so it can suit multiple kinds of sports events or concerts. It’s courts have operable tops so weather conditions can’t cancel or postpone any events.  It was engineered so it can be used all-year-around no matter what the season is. The real grand-slam of the venue is the roof, the type of roof is called a cantilever. It has roof panels that can close or open, and has minimal design while still being a strong structure. The opening and closing of the roof is efficient, compact, and easy to operate. The roof was made by using two thin roof panels, and using the trailing edge of the panels to be fixed to the anchored roof. There are columns at the back of the seating areas that support the paneling which spreads over the spectators. This allows the spectators visibility of the event to be clear and let’s anyone have a good view. Although the roof is light, the engineers made sure the durability of the roof would maintain good quality. Due to its dynamics the movement of the roof is very slight and  does not react to the weather and reduces noise that the weather may cause.


The last edition to the newly-renovated arena is the umpire chairs, which look almost space-like. They use pneumatic technology to allow the umpire seats to move smoothly up and down. The c-shape of the chair is designed to give the umpires the best possible view to make fair calls.

Overall, the technology, engineering, and architectural work that went into the renovations of the arena help with the enjoyment and entertainment of all attendees. The structure will also influence how all future sports venues will be built.

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