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A NEW state-of-the-art show court will be built at Melbourne Park in the next $270 million stage of the sports and entertainment precinct's redevelopment. Images obtained exclusively by the Herald Sun reveal the first look of the new 5000-seat stadium, construction of which will begin as soon as January's Grand Slam tournament finishes. Workers will demolish the Melbourne Park Function Centre to make way for the sunken show court in the shadows of the MCG. A grand new entrance to Rod Laver Arena and a futuristic four-storey 'pod'' to entertain players and fans will also be unveiled for the 2020 Australian Open. Fans will enter centre court through a new piazza, past a range of bars and restaurants and up broad steps from Grand Slam Oval. Part of a bridge from Melbourne Park to the MCG and four practice courts will be demolished to make way for the new show court, featuring wrap-around LED lights. Just 2500 seats smaller than Margaret Court Arena, it will give Melbourne Park four courts capable of seating a total of at least 37,500 fans. Tournament director Craig Tiley said the Australian Open continued to lead the world in the facilities it offered. 'There's a spectacular new entrance, a whole range of food and dining options, and so much more space,'' he said. The yet-to-be-named show court will include a central terrace with elevated outdoor public space, a new function centre and a media centre with broadcast studios. Fans will find their way around courts more easily thanks to new and improved paths, scoreboards and signs. The new Rod Laver Arena entrance will feature, for the first time, a display of memorabilia celebrating Laver's achievements. Mr Tiley said: 'I'm delighted we can now also honour Rod Laver with an exhibition of his memorabilia, which will have pride of place in the new building.' The four-storey eastern pod will include restaurants, locker rooms, relaxation areas and access tunnels for players, and a variable LED feature ceiling. 'I'm confident the players will love their new home away from home and the comfortable and high-quality amenities and services,'' Mr Tiley said. 'We are excited about delivering the best-ever experience to the playing group.' Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the Open, and of Laver completing his second Grand Slam of the Wimbledon , Australian, French and US Open titles.
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