The Australian Open is one of Australia’s largest sporting competitions, taking place in the Rover Arena, near Melbourne’s Central Business District (CBD) from January 16-29. The international tennis match is a high profile event with celebrities and high-net worth individuals in attendance.
The match did not witness any major incidents until last year when a spectator jumped onto the court and unfurled a banner which read ‘Abolish refugee detention.’ Security quickly formed a barrier around the athletes and apprehended the protester.
Any fans attending this year’s match should be aware of the possibility of protests, extreme weather events, and Australia’s sharp rise in data breaches. High-net worth individuals almost certainly will contend with increased paparazzi activity in the areas around the tournament.
- Political Controversy: Activists are planning to protest outside the arena over claims tennis player Peng Shuai was forcibly “disappeared” by the Chinese government. Tennis Australia is also facing a backlash for having a Chinese brand as a sponsor for the event. One protest organizer said they would “make trouble for Tennis Australia.”
- Extreme Weather: Australia suffers from extreme weather conditions, often flooding and heatwaves in the summer season which is from December to March.
- Cyber Risk: Between 2021 and 2022, Australia witnessed a steep rise in data breaches. Cyber criminals target private data to sell, hold for ransom, or commit financial fraud.
- Paparazzi: Paparazzi are active in Australia due to the country being a major tourist destination with highly visible local celebrities. Expect paparazzi to be present around hotels, restaurants, and the event itself.
Despite these possible risks and challenges, Australia has a strong and effective police force and security protocols are in place to protect athletes and spectators. Melbourne also enjoys good infrastructure capable of handling large crowds so attendees should not face overcrowding and will have ample help in case a crisis occurs. Concentric encourages visitors to the Australia Open and their security details to keep abreast of current news and developments. The Australia Open provides a map noting four entrances into the event. In addition:
- All travelers should keep a vigilant eye on their belongings. Luxury hotels can often provide secure entrances for high-profile clients.
- Visitors to Australia do not need to show proof of vaccination or quarantine upon arrival, and a negative COVID-19 test is not needed to enter the stadium. COVID-19 rates remain low in Australia but travelers are advised to keep up with the latest flu shots and COVID-19 vaccinations.
- Travelers should use secure servers, VPNs, or secure personal hotspots instead of public Wi-Fi connections. Do not open suspicious links or ads and ensure personal accounts use varying passwords.
Author: Paul Gadalla, Intelligence Associate, Global Intelligence