Australia's Open


Through the lens of this unique fourteen-day tennis slam Australia’s Open unpacks the complex journey Australia has navigated to its current standing on the international stage. Examining the events that have shaken and shaped it both on and off the court the film will reveal how the evolution of the event has mirrored Australia’s own journey as a nation, from poor colonial cousin to a mature and confident world player.


A Good Thing Production. Financed by Screen Australia, Film Victoria and the Melbourne International Film Fund. Producers Charlotte Wheaton and Nick Batzias. Executive Producer Virginia Whitwell. ABC Executive Producer Rachel Robinson. ABC Commissioning Editor Jo Chichester. ABC Head of Factual Susie Jones


This will be the FTA premiere of the documentary, which debuted at this year’s Melbourne International Film Festival and was released at cinemas nationally in October.

Synopsis at MIFF website

Where does it get screened, beyond the Melbourne International Film Festival?

“October 12th is the national cinema release, and then in January, two one-hour versions of it will air on the ABC prior to Australian Open 2024.”

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Australia’s Open Binge premieres Tuesday 9 January 2024 at 8.30pm


Australia’s Open - Part 1


Tuesday 9 January 8.30pm+ BINGE - Stream both episodes on ABC iview

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.

Australia’s Open - Part 2


Wednesday 10 January 8.30pm

Part two of Australia’s Open counterpoints irresistible on-court drama with the nation’s off-court divisions as they are unintentionally revealed to the world. In recent years the Australian Open becomes a stage for the nation’s same-sex marriage debate; confronting treatment of refugees; and complex relationship to its colonial past.

The film’s heavy-hitting cast includes former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash whose story reveals the double-edged sword of a nation’s hunger for victory and CEO Craig Tiley who relives the controversial deportation of Novak Djokovic in 2022. Other contributors include former Chair of the US Open Katrina Adams; New York Times correspondent Damien Cave; broadcasters Shelley Ware, Bruce McAvaney and veteran journalist Tracey Holmes.

Australia’s Open goes inside some of the tournament’s most memorable finals, including Serena and Venus Williams’ last Grand Slam final and unexpected comebacks from Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.


moved from ABC thread, apologies

Great doco on the ABC tonight, Australia’s Open, taking a broad and also recent look (for obvious reasons and more than one) at the Asia Pacific’s Grand Slam, lead by Tracey Holmes (who also used to work at Seven/Sport when they had rights and may have even been part of it prior to Sydney Olympics), well produced.

Bruce McAvaney a great get, a super had “Commentator, 1990 - 2016”.

Surprised to see little to no watermarks though, perhaps cropped/zoomed or used clean feeds (if available) from TA (who are also involved in it and probably gave permissions) or global feeds, perhaps ABC will credit the broadcasters in the credits.

Part 2 tomorrow. Also available on iView.


Both AO broadcasters (Seven and Nine) are acknowledged in the credits. You need to watch both episodes on iView and pause to read them.


Receiving positive feedback online too

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I thought part 2 tonight was not quite as good as part 1. Apart from the 2017 men’s final, it was basically a recap of events of 2020-2023 tournament. I felt the ABC could have shown the documentary in one go last night.

Overall the documentary was excellent and demonstrates how the Australian Open and the wider society influences one another.