The Australian Open’s final sunburn has finally begun to fade, but tennis fans like Bruce Weston are still feeling the glow from the hottest Open ever. 

In fact, it was hot from many angles. Record crowds flocked to Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena as temperatures spiked above 40C.

For Bruce, Customer and Commercial Manager at Coca-Cola South Pacific, it was an event to remember.

He attended the Australian Open when it first graced Melbourne Park (Now Rod Laver Arena) back in 1988.

“As long as I can remember, Ive always enjoyed watching tennis,” said Bruce. “I admire the fact they can be in a highly competitive sport for hours, but at the end they can shake hands at the net. I think thats one of the attractions, that personal moment that makes people connect with players.”

Certainly, this year’s Open had more than its share of drama, with Stanislas Wawrinka winning the final against men’s world number one Rafael Nadal.

That Nadal had been suffering from a back injury only made his fans - including Weston - admire him more. “Credit to him for gritting his teeth and winning the third set,” said Bruce. “Champions when theyre wounded will do whatever they can to compete.”

Breaking Records

This year’s event was one of the biggest on record, with a record-setting 63,595 arriving on the Australian Open’s opening night. It was also the Open’s busiest year online, with over 17 million unique visits to the official website to catch up on the tennis action.

The Open also fell during one of the country’s hottest weeks in living memory. With temperatures rising above 40C with play being suspended once due to the extreme heat policy being enforced. 

As an official event sponsor, Coca-Cola Amatil spent the first week of the tournament sending three trucks packed with drinks every day. Players were often seen on court gulping from their bottles of ‘Mount Franklin’ and splashing cold water on their faces when the heat got too much, and fans in the crowd kept hydrated with ‘Keep Your Cool’ themed bottles.

For his part, Bruce and his team are already preparing for an even bigger Australian Open in 2015.

“From a whole sport perspective, its looking very strong for the future,” he said. “There are lots of young people coming through. It bodes well for a future for tennis.”