How to watch the Australian Open online for free

The 2020 Australian Open qualifying stages started on January 14th, but the official tournament (and accompanying coverage) is scheduled to take place January 20th – February 2nd. That said, there may be delays due to poor air quality resulting from smoke from bushfires.

Note that due to differing time zones, tournament coverage will start on Sunday, January 19th for viewers in North America. For most tennis fans, traveling to Australia and getting tickets to the live event is simply not feasible. Thankfully, you can enjoy Australian Open coverage from anywhere in the world by connecting to a VPN.

Note that in this post, we’ll only recommend official broadcasters. While unlicensed streams likely exist, these are typically unreliable. Plus, with free options available for viewing the Australian Open from anywhere, there’s simply no need to opt for unlicensed streams.

Most platforms covering the Australian Open geo-restrict their content. As such, you’ll need to connect to a VPN to access your usual home streaming services from abroad.

How to live stream the Australian Open free with a VPN

Short for Virtual Private Network, a VPN encrypts your internet traffic and routes it through a secondary server in a location of your choice. It replaces your IP address with one from that server, tricking streaming websites into allowing you access to geo-restricted content that would otherwise be blocked.

Even if you’ve never used a VPN before, getting started is super simple. Just follow the steps below and you’ll be able to view the Australian Open from anywhere in the world.

Here’s how to watch the Australian Open live stream online free (from anywhere):

  1. Sign up for your chosen provider. We recommend ExpressVPN but CyberGhost and NordVPN are two reliable alternatives that offer excellent value for money.
  2. Download the relevant VPN app for your device and log in using the credentials you received on signup.
  3. Connect to a VPN server in the streaming source region. For example, use an Australian server for 9Now.
  4. Access the source website and navigate to the live stream you want to view. You should be able to watch with no issues.

If possible, it’s a good idea to do a trial run before the match you want to watch starts, just in case you run into issues and need to troubleshoot with your VPN provider customer support team. After all, once you have access, you won’t want to miss a minute of the action.

How to live stream the Australian Open for free on Australian TV

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In Australia, Channel Nine (or The Nine Network) has secured the rights to provide full coverage of the tournament until 2020. Online streams are available through the channel’s web platform, 9Now. This site is only accessible if you have an Australian IP address. Attempting to access it from anywhere else will deliver the following error message: “Sorry, 9Now is only available in Australia.”

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Thankfully, if you’re traveling outside Australia during the tournament, all you need to do to access the site is connect to one of your VPN’s Australian servers. You need to have an account in order to watch anything, but signing up is free. You’ll be asked to enter an Australian postal code during the signup process, but this isn’t verified.

Don’t have a VPN yet? We recommend ExpressVPN for live streaming the Australian Open. It’s fast, reliable and is known for its ability to unblock restricted content. Plus, it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can use it to watch the whole tournament and get your money back at the end.

Where else can I watch the Australian Open online?

Coverage of the 2020 Australian Open will be available from various official broadcasters across the globe. Here, we’ll explain how to access these live streams from abroad.

USA

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ESPN has rights to US coverage of the tournament and will be airing it on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3. Live streams can be accessed on ESPN+ and the ESPN mobile app. To view these streams, you’ll need to sign in with credentials from a US cable TV provider (assuming ESPN is included in your cable package) or purchase an individual ESPN subscription (which costs $5 per month or $50 per year). There’s currently no free trial period.

If you don’t have access to ESPN directly, it is also available via several over-the-top services, including Sling TV and PlayStation Vue. Some of these services offer free trials, which means you may be able to watch part of the tournament for free.

If you’re already subscribed to these services but happen to be outside of the US, you can connect to a US VPN server and log in normally.

Canada

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In Canada, TSN has the rights to broadcast all Grand Slam tennis tournaments, including the Australian Open. TV coverage is spread across TSN1, TSN2, and TSN5, and matches can be viewed online through TSN Direct. For those looking to view on mobile, the TSN Go mobile app is available for Android and iOS. For access to TSN Direct or the mobile app, you’ll need to sign in with Canadian cable provider credentials. Alternatively, you can sign up for a standalone TSN Direct subscription which costs $19.99 (CAD) per month. A day pass is also available for $4.99 (CAD).

French-language network RDS will also be broadcasting the tournament, with French commentary. Streams can be accessed online via RDS Direct and on mobile devices through the RDS Go mobile app. Similar to TSN, day and month passes for the standalone service are available (for the same prices as above).

If you’re traveling outside of Canada while the Australian Open is on, you can connect to a Canadian VPN server to access your streams as normal.

UK

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Eurosport has UK broadcasting rights for the Australian Open and will air coverage on Eurosport 1 and Eurosport 2. It will be streaming matches online via Eurosport Player. To access the streams, you’ll need credentials from a UK cable provider (and a package that includes the channel).

Alternatively, you can purchase passes from the Eurosport Player website. Your best bet is probably the one-month pass for £6.99, but there’s also a deal on a one-year pass for just £39.99 (or £4.99 per month if you pay monthly).

To watch from outside the UK, you can connect to a UK VPN server and log in as normal.

How does the Australian Open tournament work?

The Australian Open is the first of four Grand Slam tennis tournaments of the year and takes place in Melbourne, Australia. It’s a hugely popular event, with almost 750,000 spectators attending the 2018 tournament and more than 780,000 making it to the 2019 event. With fans less likely to travel to the country during the current bushfire crisis, it’s possible those numbers will decrease significantly this year.

The men’s and women’s singles tournaments follow a similar pattern. There are four rounds followed by quarter-final, semi-final, and final matches. Every stage is a knockout stage, so when a player loses a match, they are out of the tournament. The initial draw is conducted such that the top-seeded players won’t face off against each other until the latest stages. For example, assuming they don’t lose any matches, the top two seeds will meet in the final.

Aside from the men’s and women’s singles tournaments, there will be men’s, women’s, and mixed doubles tournaments.

Who is expected to do well in the Australian Open?

At the time of writing, the top 10 ranked men and women players are as follows:

RankMen (ATP Singles Rankings)Women (WTA Singles Rankings)
1Rafael Nadal (Spain)Ashleigh Barty (Australia)
2Novak Djokovic (Serbia)Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic)
3Roger Federer (Switzerland)Naomi Osaka (Japan)
4Daniil Medvedev (Russia)Simona Halep (Romania)
5Dominic Thiem (Austria)Elina Svitolina (Ukraine)
6Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greece)Bianca Andreescu (Canada)
7Alexander Zverev (Germany)Belinda Bencic (Switzerland)
8Matteo Berrettini (Italy)Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic)
9Roberto Bautista Agut (Spain)Serena Williams (USA)
10Gael Monfils (France)Kiki Bertens (Netherlands)

Last year’s winner of the men’s singles tournament was Novak Djokovic who claimed his record seventh Australian Open title. Indeed, the betting odds weigh in favor of Djokovic retaining his title in 2020. Nadal, Medevev, and Federer predictably follow as second, third, and fourth favorites, respectively.

While many of the women favorites follow a similar pattern to the seed list above, the bookies’ number one spot is saved for Serena Williams. Williams has climbed back to number nine in the world rankings and recently won her first singles title since the birth of her daughter in 2017. A win at this year’s tournament would bring her total number of grand slam singles titles to 24, which would match record-holder Margaret Court (who happens to be Australian).

Image credit: “Rafael Nadal” licensed under CC BY 2.0