Australia’s Open on ABC – Every January, the Australian Open commands global attention, but when off-court drama steals the show, Australia itself becomes part of the spectacle.

Australia’s Open charts the tournament’s rise as it inadvertently reveals Australia’s divisions to the world. Through telling archive, compelling play and heavy-hitting interviews,

Part one of Australia’s Open charts the Australian Open’s trajectory from a suburban tennis club to the biggest annual sporting event in the southern hemisphere.

After almost losing Grand Slam status in the 1980s, the tournament works hard to project a free and breezy image of Australia to the world in a process organisers dub ‘Australianisation’.

Stock horses on court, ‘beachside’ bars and kangaroos aplenty dovetail with Paul Hogan’s legendary tourism campaigns as the tournament attracts more international visitors and star players.

Eye-watering broadcast deal eventually follow, and the tournament becomes known as ‘The Happy Slam.’ By 2017, it hosts historic finals that well and truly grab the world’s attention. But while organisers, government and business celebrate the international spotlight, the world’s attention inevitably strays beyond the court. And what is revealed is a country far more complex than the Happy Slam image suggests.

Australia’s Open captures the poetry and power of the tournament because at the Australian Open, there is always more than a game at stake.

Production Credit: GOODTHING PRODUCTIONS

Australia’s Open on ABC and ABC iview – Tuesday 9 January, 2024 at 8.30pm

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Australia's Open on ABC