Melbourne, Australia, 3 February 2023 |

Promised a “money-can’t-buy” experience at the Australian Open 2023, this year’s Australian Tennis Foundation lottery winners were thrilled to watch history unfold across a memorable finals weekend.

Tennis fans Lyn and Bill Byrnes from Sydney had been to the Australian Open many times before, but “never to a final.”

As winners of the ATF lottery, they received return airfares, accommodation, as well as Australian Open 2023 finals tickets with complimentary hospitality experience. They were also treated to an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour at Melbourne Park and invited to attend the champion’s photo shoot.

They selected to attend the men’s singles final, where they witnessed Novak Djokovic claim an unprecedented 10th Australian Open title and return to world No.1.

“This experience was by far the best we have had in terms of seating position, the fact that we were seeing the men’s final, the dining experience, and the behind-the-scenes tour,” Bill explained.

“When I first realised I had won, it was a surreal moment. It was totally exciting and unexpected. The excitement only increased when I rang Lyn to tell her of the result. I think we were both in a state of shock.”

The possibility of Stefanos Tsitsipas claiming his maiden Grand Slam, made the experience even more special for Bill and Lyn.

“The match was fantastic. The crowd, the atmosphere, the spectacle – they all added to make it an unforgettable final,” Bill said.

“Although we were barracking for Tsitsipas, you could take nothing away from Djokovic. It may have only been a three-set match but the intensity of each set made this an unforgettable final, particularly being Novak’s 10th AO title and his retaking of the No.1 ranking.”

Court-side action aside, Bill and Lyn had too many off-court highlights to count.

“Meeting Craig Tiley was a particular honour,” Bill said. “Having our pictures taken beside the AO trophies on centre court was another treasured moment. The Champion’s Walk was unbelievable, and the behind-the-scenes tour was also above and beyond what we expected.

“We were escorted on what could only be described as an in-depth tour of the player’s lounge, the player’s recovery area, Rod Laver Arena, a tour of the underground tunnel in which the players do their warm-up routines prior to play, then on to the media centre, where a mock interview was carried out with Lyn and I acting as a new mixed doubles team.

“Everybody involved was so accommodating, friendly and giving of their time that we felt humbled by their attention. We will never forget our time at AO 2023.”

Bill and Lyn will “definitely return” to the Australian Open, but say that the bar has been set too high for future AO experiences.

“We will never be able to top this,” Bill said.

More “money-can’t-buy” experiences will be on offer in the Australian Tennis Foundation lottery at Australian Open 2024, with tickets set to go on sale before Christmas this year.

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Funds from this year’s Australian Tennis Foundation lottery helped raise valuable funds to rebuild flood-affected communities across the country.

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