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Shaded Seats at Rod Laver Arena

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Rod Laver Arena, situated in Melbourne Park, stands as the centerpiece for the Australian Open and is a must-visit for tennis enthusiasts. With the Australian Open taking place in January, the height of Melbourne’s summer, temperatures can soar, making sun avoidance a critical consideration. Fans seeking relief from the intense sun should use this guide to find the optimal shaded seats at Rod Laver Arena.

Where are the seats in the shade at Rod Laver Arena?

The seats in the shade at Rod Laver Arena are typically found in:

  • Baseline, North Side: This area is shaded
  • Baseline, South Side: This area is generally shaded​
  • Sideline, West Side: Receives 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 shining bright.

Rod Laver Arena was the first tennis venue in the world to feature a retractable roof. How much sun seeps into the stands depends on whether the roof is fully open, partially open, or closed. Tennis fans planning ahead should always assume the roof will be fully open if they want the best shot at a seat in the shade!

To learn about which specific sections to choose for shade and which to avoid for sun and different times of the team, continue reading.

Rod Laver 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.

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.

Seats in the Sun and Shade at Afternoon Rod Laver Arena Matches

The inclusion of a retractable roof at Rod Laver Arena is a big deal because it creates a lot of shade that wouldn’t exist in an open-air arena. However, you still need to know where to find those seats in the shade!

If you’re attending the first match of the day at noon, the sun will be near its highest point in the sky, and seats directly below the roof will be shaded. You might be tempted to choose a seat on the south side of the stadium, and seats here will get shade for the first match of the day. However, a seat on the north side is a safer bet if you plan to stay and watch multiple matches throughout the afternoon. For maximum shade, choose a seat in section 20-24 or 52-55. If you’re willing to splurge, sections 1-3 and 17-18 will give you the best combination of view and protection from the sun.

It is possible that on a brutally hot and sunny Melbourne day, the roof will be partially retracted and provide shade to all seats in sections 8-12. However, this is not guaranteed, so exercise caution when choosing a seat on this side of the arena, especially in the first few rows. Baseline sections 33-44 are a better bet as they are far enough back that the permanent section of the roof will provide shade to those directly below.

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 over the course of the afternoon. The hottest and most sun-soaked sections are 4-7 and 27-31. Fans should bring strong SPF sunscreen and sunglasses if they choose to sit here! On the opposite side, sections 13-16 and 45-49 will be in the sun early in the day but by mid-to-late afternoon will get some relief as the sun dips behind the west side of the arena.

Shadows on the stands at Rod Laver Arena

In the early afternoon seats on the sidelines will be sun soaked while seats behind the baselines will stay cool in the shade.
Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock.com

Seats in the Sun and Shade at Evening Rod Laver Arena Matches

Tennis fans attending a night session will have a much easier time finding shade than those who attend during the day. The key for shade is to focus on the western half of the arena. In the lower level, sections 1-10 will be in the shade as the sun begins to set. In the upper level, sections 38-55 will be shade-covered as well.

The sunniest sections are sideline sections 4-7 and 27-31. Fans who choose seats here should bring their best sunglasses as the sun will set directly into their eyes. Seats in the northeast corner of the arena will also get hit with a blast of sun in the hour or so before sunset. Avoid sections 2-5 and 25-30 if you want to stay out of the sun at the end of the day.

Rod Laver Arena Late Afternoon Shadows

By late afternoon seats behind the baselines and on the west sideline (right) will be comfortably in the shade. Seats on the east sideline (left) stay sunny the longest.
Photo by Antoine Couvercelle/Tennis Magazine/DPPI/Icon Sportswire

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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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