In a sign of the times, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian Open has announced a new partnership with Initial as the official hygiene partner for the 2021 event.

“The health and safety of fans, officials, players and our AO workforce is our No.1 priority and to partner with a trusted brand in Initial will help ensure fans are protected and can play it safe while enjoying a day at the tennis,” Tennis Australia Chief Revenue and Experiential Officer Ben Slack said.

“The hundreds of Initial touch-free hand sanitisers throughout the tournament precinct will be easily accessible to fans and will offer the best in hand hygiene protection.”

The partnership will see the hygiene company supply over 800 touchless hand sanitiser and disinfection wipe stations across the AO precinct as well as provide the disinfection services of the fleet of 130 Kia cars used to transfer players and officials to and from Melbourne Park.

“COVID-19 has had such a massive impact on life as we know it. Sport, as part of the fabric of the Australian way of life, suffered substantially during 2020.” Pacific Managing Director of Initial Andrew Stone said.

“Initial is delighted to play a part in supporting the return of an event as significant and great as the Australian Open.”

Fans at Melbourne Park find it easy to follow all the protocols, with COVIDSafe messages incorporated into big screen content and highly visible signage across the site.