Australian Open expanding to 15 days with Sunday start

The Australian Open will begin on a Sunday next year, expanding the Grand Slam tennis tournament to a 15-day event for the first time.

Tennis Australia announced the change Monday, saying its intention was to decrease the likelihood of late-night finishes for the athletes and spectators.

The change for next January's tournament at Melbourne Park comes after this year's Australian Open included a second-round match between Andy Murray and Thanasi Kokkinakis that concluded after 4 a.m.

The late finishes have become something of a semi-regular occurrence in tennis, a sport played without a clock, meaning contests can be shorter than an hour or last more than 5 1/2 hours, as Murray's victory in January did.

"We've listened to feedback from the players and fans and are excited to deliver a solution to minimize late finishes while continuing to provide a fair and equitable schedule on the stadium courts," Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said in a statement issued with the announcement.

Tiley said the tournament's first round will be expanded to three days, instead of the previous two.

The Australian Open's new dates for 2024 will be Jan. 14-28. It now joins the French Open as the only tennis majors to be held over 15 days. The US Open and Wimbledon are both 14-day events.