Starting from 2019, Dunlop will replace Willson as the official ball partner of the Australian Open, as it was announced in New York on Sunday. A five-year partnership will enable Dunlop to provide an official ball for the opening Grand Slam of the season and it will be used at all levels of tennis in Australia as well.
This means that all four Majors will use the different balls (Babolat at Roland Garros, Slazenger at Wimbledon and Willson at the US Open) and Melbourne is now the biggest tournament in the ATP calendar that uses Dunlop balls, joining Monte Carlo, Madrid, Rome, Shanghai, Barcelona, New York, Budapest, Munich, Estoril and Chengdu.
“We are delighted to partner with Dunlop on the new Australian Open ball,” Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said. “Our aim is to provide the players with the best possible playing environment and we believe they will be very happy with the quality, standard and consistency of play of the new AO Dunlop ball in a wide variety of conditions.
We’ve worked closely with Dunlop for some time and are impressed with their quality control at every stage, from design right through to the manufacturing process. Many of our current and former players have also put the new ball through its paces, both in Australia and around the world, and this process will be ongoing to ensure there’s consistency of play in a variety of conditions.
We welcome Dunlop to the Australian tennis family and look forward to a fantastic partnership across all levels of the sport.”
“The new partnership with the Australian Open and Tennis Australia represents a landmark moment for Dunlop,” Head of Tennis Division for SRI Kiyoshi Ikawa said. “Partnering with a Grand Slam gives us an opportunity to reach new audiences and reaffirms the dedication we have to producing tennis products of the highest standards.ALSO READ: Who are the best U20 players at US Open in the Open era? (Part I)
Tour players often refer to the Dunlop balls as being the best on tour and we’ve worked tirelessly throughout a detailed development process with Tennis Australia. Specifications of the ball have been tested by current and ex-players, Tennis Australia members and coaches to ensure we deliver the perfect ball for what’s regarded as the most popular Grand Slam of the year among the players.”