SBD/Issue 21/Events & Attractions

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  • Tennis Australia CEO Fighting To Keep Aussie Open In Melbourne

    Tennis Australia CEO Steve Wood Says He
    Does Not Want To Move Open To Sydney
    Tennis Australia CEO Steve Wood "has distanced himself from reports the Australia Open could be headed for Sydney, predicting a 'good news future' for Melbourne," according to Laine Clark of AAP. Wood has "acknowledged Tennis Australia had been approached by Events NSW regarding the event's contract." There also have been "reports that Shanghai, Dubai and Abu Dhabi were manoeuvring to host it." Tennis Australia is "currently awaiting a $1.5[M] consultancy report into a facilities upgrade at Melbourne Park," and Wood said, "We've got a business case study going on right now as to what the future needs to deliver for us -- we are very happy with the way in which things are operating there." Wood: "We are going to deliver on our contract at Melbourne, we've had a great run, massive growth in Melbourne."  However, former ATPer Todd Woodbridge said that the Victorian government "had to upgrade Melbourne Park or they would lose the event when the contract expired in 2016." Woodbridge added, "It has got to go somewhere that can grow. If they can continue to expand the facility in Melbourne then I doubt it will move" (AAP, 10/14). Former Australian Open Tournament Dir Paul McNamee said the tournament was "part of the DNA of Melbourne." McNamee said for Tennis Australia to talk to Sydney "would be akin to Wimbledon having discussions with Edinburgh." Former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett said of Tennis Australia considering moving the tournament to Sydney, "I don't mind any other state looking at it. I just don't think the economics stack up" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 10/13). The AP's John Pye reports supporters of a new facility in Sydney "have publicly stated they'll try to poach the event from" Melbourne (AP, 10/14).

    BOYCOTT WATCH: Sony Ericsson WTA Tour player Dinara Safina Saturday said that the top WTA players "could boycott next year's WTA Tour if their questions are left unanswered." Safina said that the players are "unhappy with the planned changes to the schedule." Safina: "If they (WTA) don't listen to what we have to say, we might even choose to boycott the new tour. They said the leading players would have to play in designated tournaments while lower-ranked players would be able to enter any event they like. There's no logic in that at all. What if all the top players choose to enter the same tournament? What will the WTA do then? We want to know." Safina added there are "a lot of grey areas. No one seems to understand which tournaments you can play and which you can't" (ESPN.com, 10/12).

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