Melbourne: The next Australian Open will be played on a new acrylic court surface.
Organisers of the 2008 Australian Open, the first tennis major of the year, have started replacing the Rebound Ace at Melbourne Park in favour of new technology.
"The new cushioned acrylic surface will have a different cushioning system to the Rebound Ace product, including a lower rubber content, and will be firmer under foot," tournament director Craig Tiley said on Wednesday.
"The court characteristics for next year's Australian Open will be very similar to what we achieved in 2007, with the surface playing in the medium to medium-fast range."
The Australian Open will continue to be played on a cushioned acrylic surface, and not a hard court, Tiley said, "which preserves its point of difference from other Grand Slam tournaments."
There is less rubber in the new surface, which organisers expect will retain less heat and makes it better suited to Australian conditions.
"The annual review of the courts had to be more extensive this year because of their age and condition," Tiley said.
The Australian Open, formerly played on grass, has been using a Rebound Ace surface since it moved to Melbourne Park in 1988.