Andy Murray during his match against Thanasi Kokkinakis at the 2023 Australian Open

Australian Open: Grand Slam extends to 15 days in bid to avoid late finishes

Andy Murray during his match against Thanasi Kokkinakis at the 2023 Australian OpenAndy Murray suggested the Australian Open should follow the US Open in scheduling two day matches rather than three

The Australian Open will become a 15-day event for the first time in 2024 in an attempt to reduce the number of late-night finishes at Melbourne Park.

The tournament’s scheduling was questioned in January after Andy Murray described his 4am finish as a “farce”.

Now the Grand Slam has added a day and will start on Sunday, January 14.

A minimum of two matches will be scheduled for day sessions on the main courts, rather than three, to cut the risk of night sessions being delayed.

Tournament director Craig Tiley said: “We’ve listened to feedback from the players and fans and are excited to deliver a solution to minimise late finishes while continuing to provide a fair and equitable schedule on the stadium courts.

“The additional day will achieve this, benefiting scheduling for fans and players alike. The first round will now be played over three days instead of two.”

The French Open is also a 15-day tournament, while Wimbledon and the US Open are played over 14 days.

The Australian Open has staged five singles matches on each of the two main show courts, Rod Laver Arena and Margaret Court Arena, during the opening six days of past tournaments.

Three matches took place during the day session from 11am, and two were scheduled from 7pm for the night session.

While the minimum number of night matches will remain as two, it is hoped that reducing the minimum day schedule to two matches will prevent the night matches – for which there is separate ticketing – finishing painfully late.

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This year, Murray’s five-set win over Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis in round two started at 22:20 local time and lasted five hours 45 minutes, finishing at 4:05am.

The British former world number one said he managed only three hours’ sleep following that match before exiting in the next round.

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