Tennis Australia announced that it will not be hosting any Australia Day celebrations during this year’s Australian Open tournament.
The Australian Open, one of the biggest tennis tournaments in the world, has announced that it will not be hosting any Australia Day celebrations during this year’s event, instead focusing on “inclusivity and respect for all”.
The decision comes as a recent poll by the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) revealed that 62% of Australians support annual Australia Day celebrations on January 26th, but Tennis Australia has said in a statement that they are “mindful there are differing views, and at the Australian Open we are inclusive and respectful of all.”
Tennis Australia will acknowledge the historical significance and spiritual connection of First Peoples to the land by displaying a “Welcome to Country” on stadium screens prior to both the day and night sessions daily.
It will also be ramping up their inclusivity efforts to the large crowds, including the return of First Nations Day which debuted at the tournament last year.
An All Abilities Day will also take place, showcasing professional players and kids with different abilities on the court, including wheelchair tennis matches and low vision participants.
The tournament also aims to celebrate the LGBTQI+ community as both players and avid tennis goers have the opportunity to partake in the “Glam Slam” as part of Pride Day this Friday.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton criticized local council decisions to similarly opt out of celebrations and urged Australians to be “proud” of the national holiday.
He said, “We shouldn’t be embarrassed or ashamed by who we are, we should be more proud of who we are. We don’t need to tear down one part of our history to build up the other.”