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On the ground – the women calling the shots at the Australian Open

Moments That Matter | By | 19 Jan 2024 | 2 minute read

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As the Australian Open unfolds on the courts, a closer look behind the scenes reveals the pivotal role played by remarkable women. In this spotlight, we explore the impactful contributions of two women, each reshaping the narrative of excellence and inclusivity at the tournament. From orchestrating seamless fan interactions to breaking barriers in officiating, these women exemplify the dedication and passion that define the Australian Open experience.

Kate Cooper, Customer Experience Coordinator

In her debut year leading the charge for the Australian Open’s Customer Experience team, Kate Cooper embodies the essence of connecting with individuals from diverse backgrounds. As she aptly puts it, “Every person that you meet is unique. You can really get to know someone within a couple of sentences.” Her strength lies in conversing with people, a skill she attributes to her dedication to customer service.

Having transitioned from being a spectator to a behind-the-scenes participant, Kate shares her excitement for learning about what it takes to create the iconic event. Emphasizing the importance of teamwork and the sheer size of the grounds, she acknowledges that one person can’t be everywhere at once. 

“Being able to talk to people is one of my biggest strengths, and that is everything to do with customer service.”

Kate Cooper, Customer Experience Coordinator, Tennis Australia

“My main focus is to look after our ambassadors, making sure that they’re getting all the up-to-date information, so then we can relay it to all of our customers,” she says. From checking schedules and player updates to providing directions and assisting patrons with accessibility issues, Kate underscores the family-like bond within her team.

With a commitment to excellence, Kate Cooper is shaping a memorable and inclusive customer experience at the Australian Open.

Learn about how the Customer Experience team is leveraging the power of SafetyCulture to create the best experience for fans: Read our Australian Open customer story.

Cheryl Jenkins, Chief Umpire

The ball’s been in Cheryl Jenkins’ court since 2019, when she made history by becoming the first female Chief Umpire at the Australian Open. Hailing from a family of tennis players, Cheryl’s journey began as a ballkid, and she gradually worked her way up through her officiating over three decades. “I’ve been a ballkid, a travelling international chair umpire, and then I moved into the chief umpire pathway,” Cheryl says. “This will be my 30th Australian Open that I’ll officiate at.”

Still sitting in that chair today, Cheryl emphasizes the importance of normalizing women in these roles, expressing her hope that gender distinctions will become irrelevant in the future. “There’s not been that many females in the chief umpire role, and certainly not in the Grand Slam at the highest level,” Cheryl says. “It’s quite an accomplishment to know that I’m hopefully setting an example for other ladies to come through and go, ‘Yes, you can do this.’”

It’s not always easy being the one who calls the shots. Despite facing challenges, Cheryl remains dedicated to ensuring an unforgettable experience at each Australian Open match.

The ball’s in your court. Keen to keep rallying?

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