Fed Square’s ‘giant melting tennis ball’ a reminder that climate change threatens the future of the Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Jan 30 2019 - On a day tipped to reach 37-degrees, tennis fans heading to the Australian Open have been greeted by a 1.5m-high sculpture of a melting tennis ball with the words ‘climate crisis’ on it.

The artwork, installed in Federation Square by Greenpeace Australia Pacific volunteers, draws attention to the imminent threats that climate change poses to the Open, which has already been disrupted by bushfire smoke and heatwaves that put players and spectators at risk.

“This work serves to highlight the warnings of eminent scientists, whose research shows that climate change will cause Melbourne to experience more frequent and intense heatwaves with an increased number of days over 38 degrees,” Greenpeace Australia Pacific Campaigner May House said.

“Previous heatwaves have seen on-court temperatures at the Australian Open reach almost 70 degrees, which place both players and fans at serious risk of heat stroke and other health problems.  

“If we want to protect the things we love like our summer of sport we need our leaders – starting with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison – to own up to coal as the biggest driver of climate change, and rapidly replace our ageing and unreliable coal-burning power stations with clean energy sources like wind and solar.”

Climate scientist David Karoly, who heads the CSIRO-based Earth Systems and Climate Change Hub, has warned that the Open may need to relocate to a cooler season to protect players and fans.

The professor said there has been a “dramatic” increase in the number of days in Melbourne above 38 degrees in recent decades and “the projection is for a further increase in all the climate models.”

Scientists at Monash University have raised the same concerns in their report ‘Love 40 Degrees: Climate change, extreme heat and the Australian Open’. [1]

Former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash has also raised the alarm about the dangers of climate-driven extreme weather events, like bushfire smoke and heatwaves impacting play at the Open.


[1] https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/auscon/pages/16968/attachments/original/1579232498/Love_40_degrees_climate_report_Jan2020.pdf?1579232498

The Last Australian Open website


Photo and video:

The big melting ball in Fed Square https://media.greenpeace.org/collection/27MZIFJ8SXUGF

Supporters calling out Scott Morrison’s inaction on climate at the Australian Open




Greenpeace Australia Pacific Communications Campaigner, Martin Zavan

0424 295 422

[email protected]