Aussie Open Just Shy Of Attendance Mark; Officials Look To Solve Fireworks Dilemma
The total attendance for this year's Australian Open was 684,457, just short of the '12 record of 686,006, according to Linda Pearce of THE AGE. Meanwhile, Tennis Australia officials are negotiating with the state government "in an attempt to avoid the annual disruption to play caused by the Australia Day fireworks display." This year, the extended break came during the women's final. Next year it will happen during the men's final. Often, the best-of-three set women's final is finished by the scheduled fireworks time of 9:40pm, "but instead the interruption came after the third game of the third set between Li Na and Victoria Azarenka." Li fell immediately after the resumption, "twisting the ankle she had hurt earlier in the match and being assessed for possible concussion after banging her head on the court." Australian Open Tournament Dir Craig Tiley said that talks had begun with the state government "to try to find a solution acceptable to both parties" ahead of the '14 event, with the next men's final scheduled for Jan. 26. He said that the interruption was "particularly perplexing for the global TV audience, but also had the potential to affect the momentum of a match." Another issue to be addressed in the coming months is the "lack of space on the men's trophy, the historic Norman Brookes Challenge Cup, for if there is room to add another name below that of '13 champion Novak Djokovic, it will only be one." First won by Fred Perry in '43, the cup stands on a 15.5cm plinth that carries the names of the men's singles winners, "each of whom receive a replica of the original" (THE AGE, 1/28).