Australian Open chiefs consider radical format change that involves men’s and women’s finals

Shahida Jacobs
Australian Open Melbourne Park

Australian Open organisers are considering whether or not to forgo tradition and make a radical change to the format that could see the women’s final being played on a Sunday.

The women’s final at all four Grand Slams – the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open – takes place on a Saturday afternoon/evening in the host country. In contrast, the men’s final is staged on a Sunday afternoon/evening.

However, Tennis Australia bosses are toying with the idea of hosting the men’s final on a Saturday with the women’s showpiece event taking place on the final Sunday of the tournament.

According to the Australian Associated Press (AAP), the format tweaks were discussed during the 2024 Australian Open debrief.

The report adds that “while the radical move is unlikely to take place in 2025, flipping the men’s and women’s finals is seen as a win-win for fans, not least those watching on TV”.

The women’s and men’s finals traditionally start at 19:30 in Melbourne – 08:30 GMT – and it often leaves local fans having to watch the men’s final until late into the evening or sometimes early into the Monday morning.

With women’s matches a best-of-three-set affair at Grand Slams, finals usually don’t finish too late and if it is moved to a Sunday it means fans – both those watching at home and those who travel to the stadium – will be more willing to watch until the end.

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The men’s final, meanwhile, is best-of-five sets and the traditional Sunday finish often puts fans in a difficult position of having to stay up late – depending on location – even though they have work the following day.

AAP claims that switching the two finals “it would also thrust the women further into the spotlight at what would be the first Grand Slam to stage their title match as the climax of the tournament”.

However, there is still a sticky point as organisers want to maintain the 48-hour recovery period between the men’s quarter-finals and semi-finals.

Currently, the men play their quarter-finals on the second Wednesday with the semi-finals scheduled for Friday and the final the Sunday.

The women, meanwhile, play some quarter-final matches on a Wednesday before the semi-finals take place on the Thursday and the final the Saturday.

“Tiley would not compromise on player welfare if organisers were unable to fashion a way for the men to play every second day,” the AAP report added.

“But it’s understood that now the Open runs for 15 days, with a Sunday start and more wriggle room, swapping the men’s and women’s finals is back up for consideration.”