14
Dec
08

Will the Aussie Open become the Asia/Pacific Open?

aussie-open 

It has been reported that considerable pressure is being exerted on both the ITF and Tennis Australia to move the Australian Open from Melbourne to Beijing China and to rename the event the Asia/Pacific Open. This pressure is coming from corporate H Q’s throughout Asia who consider the Melbourne Park facility to be lacking many of the necessary ingredients required to maintain its status as the home of the only Grand Slam event in the Southern hemisphere. More than just a rumour, it has prompted the Government of the state to commission London based architects HOK Sports to present a master plan for a complete updating of the Melbourne Park site. The plan is expected to be presented to the Government early in 2009 after the completion of the 2009 Australian Open, and will include recommendations for changes in road and rail connections, changes to the entrance location, the building of modern corporate boxes and restaurants, a plan to ease crowd flow. The plan will also include the demolishing and rebuilding of Rod Laver arena. The arena is sadly out of date with a retractable roof that is antiquated and unreliable, and meagre corporate boxes and private court side seating.

The playing surface has also come under some scrutiny by those who want to see the Open played in China. Unlike the other three Grand Slam events, the Australian Open does not have a unique surface. Wimbledon has its grass, Roland Garros its clay, and New York has its hard surface. Maybe the Aussies should consider a surface made from ground coral, Eucalyptus leaves or peanut shells, just to be different. This coming year will see many improvements made by Tennis Australia to make the tournament more fan friendly. More night time matches for both men and women, much better player services, an evening entertainment line up of local and international personalities, and a host of other upgrades, but none of these address the root cause of the problem. If in fact there is a problem.

Tournament director Craig Tiley says, “He wants to make this year’s Grand Slam event the best possible experience for the players and the fans.”

The timing of the Australian Open coincides with the school holidays and the final weekend championship matches are held on the weekend that coincides with the national holiday known as Australia Day. Any discussions about changing the dates for the Open are not being considered.

As a fan of tennis, and a fan of tradition it seems to me that who ever makes the final decision on the future of this almost 100 year old event, should consider factors other than those expressed by corporate executives. It is a shame to witness a final match between two of the best players in the world being played to a partially full stadium because the corporations who own the boxes were not interested enough to show up, when thousands of real fans were unable to purchase a ticket. Just look at what happens in Aurthur Ashe Stadium in New York. Many of the boxes were empty even when their own superstar was winning her 9th. Grand Slam!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Advertisements

0 Responses to “Will the Aussie Open become the Asia/Pacific Open?”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Top Posts

Categories

Advertisements

%d bloggers like this: