Melbourne, Australia, 8 January 2023 |

The Australian Open will celebrate the world’s longest continuous living culture on First Nations Day with a packed program of art, food and performances, on Wednesday 18 January 2023.

Seven-time Grand Slam champion Evonne Goolagong Cawley and three-time Grand Slam champion and proud Ngarigo woman Ash Barty will both participate in First Nations Day, which is now a permanent feature of the Australian Open following the huge success of the inaugural event in 2022.

A 14-strong First Nations ballkid squad will also take to the courts at the Australian Open, with the team selected from across the country during trials at the National Indigenous Tennis Carnival in Darwin and training sessions in Victoria.

“First Nations Day at AO 2023 is going to be fantastic,” Wurundjeri Senior Elder Aunty Joy Murphy AO said.

“Tennis Australia has worked hand-in-hand with our community to recognise and value Aboriginal people and culture. Each year gets better and better and I am so excited about the diversity of activations.”

Tennis Australia supports the Uluru Statement of the Heart and encourages the national conversation to continue to ultimately formalise a lasting and appropriate voice for First Nations people to the national parliament.

Inclusion rests at the heart of our sport. With the intention of honouring our proud First Nations sporting heritage, our aim is to continue to work closely with members, players and Indigenous elders in the communities in which we play to help realise the aspirations of the Uluru Statement of the Heart.

A range of activities and performances will be held throughout the day, including:

  • Traditional Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony as the gates open
  • A traditional dance, instrumental and storytelling performance featuring Dharung man and professional Didgeridoo player Kiernan Ironfield, Wurundjeri women’s dance group Djirri Djirri Dancers and Koori Youth Will Shake Spears, a Melbourne-based dance group
  • A Call to Country by Chenile Chandler along with performances from Mitch Tambo, Lee Kernaghan and Isaiah Firebrace on Rod Laver Arena
  • Indigenous art installations across the site
  • Live art demonstrations by Stan Yarramunua
  • First Nations walking tours of Melbourne Park and surrounds with the Koorie Heritage Trust
  • ‘Culture on Court’ in partnership with Buldau Yioohgen, Anglicare Victoria’s Indigenous Youth Leadership Academy which will see kids playing on-court at Rod Laver Arena and Margaret Court Arena
  • Deadly Choices health service award winners’ ‘money-can’t-buy’ experiences
  • Indigenous artist soundscapes on Tanderrum Bridge
  • Lighting up of Grand Slam Oval canopy in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islands colours in the evening.

First Nations art, culture and food will be showcased as follows:

  • A large original installation by artist Bitja (Dixon Patten) of Bayila Creative has transformed the steps leading to MCA. Bitja’s artwork has also been incorporated across the site and features in the AO First Nations merchandise range
  • A giant mural painted by Wurundjeri, Dja Dja Wurrung and Ngurai Illum Wurrung artist Ky-ya Nicholson Ward at Grand Slam Oval which represents the unity and diversity using traditional symbols and stories
  • An immersive First Nations digital storytelling experience for kids will be part of the AO Ballpark presented by Emirates
  • Proud Bundjalung woman and former MasterChef contestant Mindy Woods will offer fans samples of native Indigenous ingredients at the pop-up of her Byron-Bay based restaurant Karkalla.

Book online, play today: Visit to get out on court and have some fun!