Australian Open 2015
The 2015 Australian Open tennis championships takes place from 19 January to 1 February, giving attendees and fans plenty of opportunities to get involved.
This Grand Slam event takes place at Melbourne Park, and the world's best men's and women's tennis players come together to compete for the title and prize money. Gates typically open at 10:00 a.m. for daytime play sessions, with gates for night sessions opening at 5:00 p.m. Occasionally there will be twilight sessions.
The winners of the 2014 event were Stanislas Wawrinka, who beat an injured Rafael Nadal, and Li Na, who defeated Dominika Cibulkova. The 2015 event is expected to attract the biggest names in world tennis, plus a few local stars too. A massive $33 million in prize money was offered in 2014, and there were plenty of thrills and spills on the court to keep the crowds entertained.
Head to Melbourne early for the qualifying rounds, which are open to the public for free in early to mid January. There's also a Legends event which takes place later in the month, which in 2014 saw Yannick Noah return to Australia to take on former champs like Fabrice Santoro, Thomas Enquist, Pat Cash and Goran Ivanisevic. The women's event was also a crowd-pleaser in 2014, with Martina Navratilova teaming up with Martina Hingis.
Junior Championships are also held towards the end of the month, and this event is open to Australian and international athletes. The singles finals are played at Rod Laver Arena, which guests can attend through their ground passes. You can also be a spectator at the Australian Open Wheelchair Championships.
If you're bringing your children to the Open, take them along to Kids Tennis Day, which features players alongside Nickelodeon characters. The special Rod Laver Arena Show is a morning event with tennis activities, free for kids and $10 for adults who pre-purchase.
The Grand Slam Oval is the Open's entertainment precinct. Here you'll find activities such as slot car racing, 3D serving practice, and even the chance to measure how fast your serve is. You can also enjoy a refreshment, purchase memorabilia and explore the Wilson Museum.
There are plenty of places to purchase food from all over the world like the Curry Pot Kitchen and Yori Korean BBQ that were favourites in 2014, as well as licensed areas to imbibe in a tipple or two.
There are many opportunities to get involved in the 2015 Open. Volunteers are required to help out through the tournament, and Ballkids are needed to assist players during matches in the lead-up to the tournament. These Ballkids work within a youthful, energetic team made up of people aged 12-15.
Other opportunities include food and beverage roles, security and cleaning work, along with many other paid positions.
If that all sounds like too much hard work, the easiest way to get involved is simply by being there to take in all the action.
Series ticket packages are available from October 1, while single tickets and ground passes are on sale from October 7. There are pass-outs available when you're at the venue, so you can come and go as required.
Australian Open ticket-holders can get free access to a tram shuttle service operating from the CBD to Rod Laver and Hisense arenas.