Oct 12, 2008

Hands off the Australian Open, Sydney told

A view of one of the courts at the Melbourne Park complex in Melbourne.

It was revealed in The Age's front page report
on how Sydney as well as Shanghai, Dubai and Abu Dhabi were manoeuvring to host the first grand slam event of the year when the current contract expires in 2016.
"I don't understand why Tennis Australia would be having any discussions with another government or another city about the tournament," Mr McNamee, a former Australian Open director, told The Sunday Age.

"That's what's such a shock. What would be the reason for that because we have a venue that is the envy of the tennis world.
"It would be akin to Wimbledon having discussions with Edinburgh. Why would you do that?"
Tennis Australia has admitted holding talks with Events NSW and others about a possible future venue for the tournament.

Events NSW says the discussions are at an early stage but there are plans to build a multimillion-dollar tennis stadium at Glebe Island, near Darling Harbour.


Despite the move, Victorian Premier John Brumby said yesterday he was confident the Open would stay in Melbourne.
"It's a great stadium, the players love Melbourne, we've got the best sports precinct in the world and I don't think we need to take too seriously the threats that are coming from Sydney," he said, adding the Government would work with Tennis Australia to improve the Open in coming years.
Mr McNamee said it was hard to imagine the Open not being played in Melbourne.
"It's part of the DNA of Melbourne, like the Opera House is part of the DNA of Sydney.

"The Australian Open is part of who we are in Melbourne. The juxtaposition of the Australian Open and Melbourne is sacrosanct."
Grand slam legend Margaret Court, who won 11 Australian Opens during her career, said the tournament was held in Melbourne because "it was the sporting city of the world".
"Melbourne is known for the Australian Open just like New York is known for the US Open and Paris for the French Open," Ms Court said.
She said Melbourne was renowned for having the best atmosphere as well as the best crowds.
"(In) Sydney … you never know if people are going to turn up to watch," she said.
(Via theage.com.au, Image via Yahoo! Sport)

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