The 2007 tennis season is not even finished and we're already getting a preview of 2008. Today the Australian Open revealed major changes for the first Grand Slam of the year. The officials unveiled the new court surface - "Australian True Blue" plexicushion - which replaces the Rebound Ace that has graced the courts but tortured many an ankle for the last 20 years. Plexicushion combines a special blend of latex, rubber and plastic particles, forms a resilient layer that absorbs body shock and reduces muscle fatigue. The 100% acrylic Plexipave Surface provides consistent and uniform bounce, long lasting color, and allows speed of play specification. The result is a sure-footed surface that dynamically responds to body impact and reduces fatigue on player's legs ankles and feet.
Tournament Director Craig Tiley had this to say about the latest incarnation of the Aussie Open surface:
"The initial player responses, from Roger Federer down, have been positive," [...] "The choice of plexicushion is about ensuring consistency in pace and bounce across all of our courts," [...] "The new colour is fresh and ensures greater visibility for players, officials, spectators and television viewers alike."
Additional changes for the 2008 season include a tweaking of the ochre-coloured "servingman" tournament logo; a renewed push into Asia in a big way with official clothing soon to hit the vast market of China, and a big screen with live telecasts of the tournament set up in Shanghai to go alongside those in Melbourne and Sydney; and a 7% increase in prize money to $1.23 million to each singles champion.
To learn more about Plexicusion, click here.