Paula Badosa slams new ‘party court’ at Australian Open
Paula Badosa has expressed the ‘discomfort’ of playing on the new ‘party court’ at the Australian Open despite a fairly comfortable 6-2 6-3 win over Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to advance to the third round.
Tennis Australia have experimented by introducing some new ways in which the first slam of the year is run, most notably by commencing play one day earlier than usual, on Sunday, which has allowed over 87,000 more ticket sales.
Another new feature for the tournament is the launch of the self-styled ‘party court’ – the first of its kind across the four grand slams.
One of the many additions to enhance the player + fan experience at Melbourne Park. It gets better every year. The Party Court at @AustralianOpen (court 6 has Courtside Bar) is a nod to sport + entertainment becoming ever more important to attracting new audiences to events. ? https://t.co/ItXR1jpy3G
— judy murray (@JudyMurray) January 15, 2024
Tournament organisers have installed a two-storey courtside bar which permits up to 500 spectators to engage in a mini party, whilst the scheduled matches on court 6 provide the entertainment.
The concept has received a mixed response from the tennis world, but the players themselves seem to be opposed to the idea, citing it as ‘distracting’.
“I’ve played both of my matches there [on court 6], it’s very noisy and loud,” Badosa said following her second round win.
“It’s a little bit tough to concentrate and it’s not very comfortable for the players to play there.
“Even during the points, it’s quite noisy. I don’t know if it’s going to work in the future.”
Both of the Spaniard’s wins at the tournament so far have come from court 6, so she may not be complaining.
The former world No.2 appears to be finding some of her best form whilst she battles back from injury issues which sidelined her throughout the second half of 2023.
Her opponent waiting in round three is America’s Amanda Anisimova, who has also found some inspired tennis on her return from a ‘mental health break’.
Inside the baseline…
The new addition of the ‘party court’ is clearly a positive one in enhancing the fan experience at the Australian Open, something that Tennis Australia seems to have done well in the past. However, it is understandable that some of the players themselves find it distracting, especially considering the live music. Going forward though, it may just be one of those things that they have to deal with. With regard to Paula Badosa, she seems to be finding some of the form which propelled her to No.2 in the world. But she will have her work cut out against Amanda Anisimova in the next round, who appears to be playing with no fear following her break from the sport.
READ NEXT: How to watch the Australian Open
Read >> World’s best tennis magazine