Rod Laver Arena
Rod Laver Arena at Melbourne Park was completed in 1988 as part of the original National Tennis Centre complex. The arena is the centrepiece of the Australian Open and plays host to a wide range of sports and entertainment events, from tennis matches to international rock stars and motorbike super-cross. The most dynamic transformation Rod Laver Arena has seen was in March 2007 with the FINA 2007 World Swimming Championships when a 50 metre temporary pool was built on the arena’s floor.
Rod Laver Arena has a seating capacity of approximately 15,000 and is located within the famous Melbourne Sports Precint which also includes the Melbourne Cricket Ground, AAMI Park and Hisense Arena. Formerly known as Centre Court at Melbourne Park (originally Flinders Park), the arena was named to honour one of Australia’s greatest tennis players of all time. Rod Laver Arena at Melbourne Park was officially named after Rod Laver for his unsurpassed achievements and accomplishments at the Australian Open in January 2000. At the time of its opening in 1988, the venue was one of the most high-tech arena’s in the world with a moveable roof - an innovative world first design which is formed by two rolling sections, each spanning the court with arched trusses that gives the Rod Laver Arena its distinctive image. A Plexicushion Tennis court forms the permanent floor structure with protective flooring placed over it to transform the venue from tennis to concert mode. Removable seating at the southern end of the arena converts the venue from a continuous seated bowl for sporting events to a three sided concert venue.
Apart from the Australian Open tennis, over 20 years the venue has seen an extensive range of world class sport and entertainment including music concerts of every style, stage shows such as Jesus Christ Superstar, Carmen and Riverdance, motocross, rodeos, monster trucks, Torville & Dean, childrens shows, wrestling, basketball and netball, Jeff Fenech title defences in 1988 & 1989 and World Championship swimming. Names such as U2, the Rolling Stones, Kylie, Pink, Pavarotti, John Farnham and Billy Joel have all performed in this versatile venue.
The arena was the home of Melbourne Basketball in the 1990’s with the Melbourne Tigers and the South-East Melbourne Magic (and then the Victoria Titans) calling the venue home, both attracting big crowds in the glory days of the NBL. The largest Basketball crowd was 15,366 in 1996 to see the local derby between the Magic and Tigers. Rod Laver Arena hosted 287 NBL games including NBL Championship deciders in 1992, 1996, 1997 and 1998, and played host to its last game in April 2000. It has since hosted some netball matches including internationals and a Melbourne Vixens final when Melbourne Arena was unavailable. The record attendance for any event was 16,183 for the Justin Timberlake concert on 18th November 2007. Rod Laver Arena has been redeveloped in 2018/19 to improve facilities for spectators and players.
National Tennis Centre