The Australian Open will be using quite a lot of technology in its upcoming edition, which is to be held from the 15th-28th January. On the three main courts - the Rod Laver, Margaret Court and Hisense Arena, a new kind of chair for the chair umpire is set to be introduced.
The chairs will be fully automatic and the umpires will just have touch a button to elevate the chairs as needed. 'We look at every aspect of the field of play to see how we can improve the experience for our players, officials and fans,' Tennis Australia’s Chief Operations Officer Tom Larner said.
'The new, automated umpire’s chair is not only practical for our chair umpires, but it will be great fun for the fans. I’m sure they’ll enjoy the anticipation as the official walks onto court, buckles up, and pushes the button to rise to the required height.' There is to be new furniture introduced on all the 22 courts at Melbourne Park as well.
'We generally refresh the court furniture every five years or so,' Larner added. 'This new look has also given us the opportunity to bring the contemporary new [Australian Open] brand to life, both in the shapes of the furniture and through the built-in LEDs on the automated chair, adding another element of colour and entertainment to the field of play.'