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Shaded Seats at John Cain Arena

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John Cain Arena, located within Melbourne Park, is nicknamed “The People’s Court” since it is the largest venue accessible to Australian Open fans with only a grounds pass. With the tournament unfolding in January, during Melbourne’s sweltering summer, sun avoidance becomes a primary concern for tennis fans. Those looking to remain cool and shaded should use this guide to find the best shaded spots when they arrive for a match at John Cain Arena.

Where are the seats in the shade at John Cain Arena?

The seats in the shade at John Cain Arena are typically found in:

  • Baseline, North Side: Shaded throughout the day
  • Baseline, South Side: Shaded area primarily on the upper level
  • Sideline, West Side: Begins to receive shade later in the day

Matches at the Australian Open begin daily at 11:00 AM or noon, depending on the round, and the sun doesn’t set in Melbourne until almost 9:00 PM. That’s up to ten hours of tennis action that takes place while the sun is out and shining.

John Cain Arena is a multi-purpose venue that hosts a variety of sports including cycling and netball in addition to tennis. It features a retractable roof that provides decent shade even when the roof is open. When set up for the Australian Open, lower-level seats are close to the action which is great for tennis fans but also means fewer seats are protected from the sun compared to the other show courts at Melbourne Park.

During the Australian Open, reserved seats are available in the lower-level behind the baselines, while seats in the upper level and on the sidelines are unreserved. If sun avoidance is important to you and you don’t have a reserved seat, make sure to arrive early to snag a seat in the shade before they’re all gone!

John Cain Arena Orientation to the Sun

All tennis show courts at Melbourne Park are oriented in a slightly off-axis north to south direction. By noon, the sun is high in the sky over the northeast section of stands. Over the course of the afternoon, the sun dips down along the west side of the stadium and sets behind the southwest corner.

The graphic below shows the approximate location of the sun throughout the day on January 15th.

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Ticketmaster is the official ticketing site for the Australian Open. Event organizers warn that purchasing AO tickets from unauthorized sellers can result in the purchaser being denied entry to the event. For travel packages, a list of authorized partners is available on the AO website.

Seats in the Sun and Shade at Afternoon John Cain Arena Matches

If you’re coming to John Cain Arena without a reserved seat, be especially careful when choosing a side! If you arrive early in the morning the sun position will essentially be flipped, with seats on the east sideline appearing in the shade and west sideline in the sun. However the position of the sun will reverse about halfway through the first match. So if you plan to stay in your seat all day, soaking in some sun early in the day may be worth it to have a shaded seat later on.

When the first match of the day begins, the sun will be near its highest point in the sky, and seats directly below the roof will be shaded. Your best bet is in one of the upper level sections 49-70.

If you wish to sit closer to the action, your best shot at finding shade is north baseline, in sections 1-6, 21-28 or 49-53. Sideline sections on both sides of the arena will experience direct sun during the first match of the day, but seats on the west sideline will move into the shade for matches later in the afternoon. The hottest and most sun-soaked sections are 7-10 and 29-34. Fans should bring strong sunscreen and sun protection if they choose to sit on this side! On the opposite side, sections 17-20 and 43-48 will be in the sun early in the day but by mid-to-late afternoon will get some relief from the sun as it dips behind the west side of the arena.

Hisense Arena Shadows

In the late afternoon seats on the west sideline (right) of John Cain Arena will be protected from the sun while fans seated on the east sideline (left) will be directly in the sun’s path.
Photo by Jason Heidrich/Icon Sportswire

Seats in the Sun and Shade at Evening John Cain Arena Matches

Tennis fans attending an evening session will have a much easier time finding shade than those who attend during the day. The key to finding shade is to focus on the baseline sections and west sideline sections. For those without reserved seats, sections 17-20, 43-48 and 65-70 will all be shaded from the sun. Fans with reserved seats behind the baselines will be safe from the sun as well.

Be careful choosing a seat in section 54-59. It is high enough and close enough to the roof that seats up here may be in the shade early in the evening, but as the sun sets, tennis fans may find themselves staring directly into the sun during the sunset match.

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Where to Buy Tickets

Ticketmaster is the official ticketing site for the Australian Open. Event organizers warn that purchasing AO tickets from unauthorized sellers can result in the purchaser being denied entry to the event. For travel packages, a list of authorized partners is available on the AO website.

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