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Old 01-20-2008, 02:34 AM   #1
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Default Chinese ambitions could kill off Australian Open

Doesn't offer anything concrete but thought you might find it interesting - From the Times. From Pat Cash who of course is the man that knows everything about tennis http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/spo...cle3216821.ece

Chinese ambitions could kill off Australian Open
Poor facilities and the threat of hooliganism could see Australia lose its Grand Slam tournament.

WHAT is the going rate if a country wants to buy history? Can anyone put a value on a tennis tradition that encompasses legendary names such as Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Lew Hoad, Margaret Court and Evonne Goolagong?

The future of the Australian Open is supposedly under threat because the Chinese yearn to add a Grand Slam tournament to their sporting portfolio. People well versed in aspects of life behind the scenes at Melbourne Park cannot say they are surprised, because an overhaul of the venue is long overdue. However, it would be appalling for one of the sport’s institutions to be uprooted and shifted to a country that started to become interested in tennis less than a decade ago.

Since the Korean car-maker Kia became sponsor of the Australian Open in 2002, there has been an Asian flavour to the event. A year later it officially became the Grand Slam of Asia and the Pacific. Because of this, the Chinese, who stage the year-ending Masters Cup in Shanghai and will host the Olympic Games in August, believe they have just cause to mount a bid.

There is a precedent. In the mid1980s, when Boris Becker and Steffi Graf were dominant, the Germans made it clear to the International Tennis Federation (ITF) that they wanted a Grand Slam. At the time the Australian Open was held at Kooyong, which is a wonderful old-fashioned tennis club in the Melbourne suburbs, but one that really didn’t justify a position as venue for one of the sport’s four showpiece events.

Philippe Chatrier, the president of the ITF, made it clear to Tennis Australia president Brian Tobin that something had to change. The result was the Victorian state government agreed to invest A$94m in a new multi-purpose facility. Melbourne Park became the envy of tournament directors around the world with its sliding roof. However, that was 20 years ago. Now the players take the two roofs on the Rod Laver and Vodafone Arenas as a given, and complain about the sub-standard locker rooms, the paucity of indoor practice courts and the fact that it can take half an hour to get through the crowds to the furthest extremities of the premises.

The Australian Open has also lost a lot of its individuality by getting rid of the Rebound Ace court surface and replacing it with Plexicushion. The slow surfaces are almost a replica of the hard courts in New York.

Another long-term issue is the position in the calendar. January has long been seen as far too early in the season for the year’s opening major. March would be a much wiser time. Temperatures would be more reasonable for players and spectators, and players would have time to hone their games after the close season break.

But another aspect is gravely endangering the future of the Australian Open, and as a hometown boy, it appals me.

Hooliganism has become a constant threat. Getting tickets for the outside courts is a simple, inexpensive business, and those who want to be violently xenophobic see the tennis as a perfect battleground. I was horrified to see the mass brawl between Serbs and Croats in 2007, and the scenes of police using capsicum spray on unruly Greek supporters last week must have helped the Chinese cause as much as any multi-million-dollar inducement. The problem was made worse when an Australian supporting Lleyton Hewitt was ejected after heckling Marcos Baghdatis in the small hours of the morning when beer had clearly taken a hold.

Tennis does not need to have its image tarnished by stories that flash around the world of Melbourne’s hooligan problem.

Any complacency by Tennis Australia could be fatal.

China’s mark on sport

- China has made a grab for some of the top events on the sporting calendar

- Olympic Games in Beijing in August this year

- Masters Cup tennis tournament in Shanghai

- HSBC golf championship in Shanghai with a $5m prize pot, the largest in Asia

- Formula One Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai
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Old 01-20-2008, 02:46 AM   #2
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Default Re: Chinese ambitions could kill off Australian Open

It is silly. AO is a wonderful Grand Slam and it should stay that way. Everything else in nonsense.
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Old 01-20-2008, 02:48 AM   #3
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Default Re: Chinese ambitions could kill off Australian Open

No chance, they're all muppets!
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Old 01-20-2008, 02:49 AM   #4
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Default Re: Chinese ambitions could kill off Australian Open

i can't for the life of me see the ITF bidding to move the Australian Open when it is setting attendance records.

The facilities can be upgraded and possibly more to do on the security front to deal with the nationalists and the drunks, but the rest is gibberish.

By any acceptable measure this tournament is a success.

If they moved it to China there would be a mutiny.
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Old 01-20-2008, 02:55 AM   #5
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Default Re: Chinese ambitions could kill off Australian Open

Makes me sick that that communist country is allowed to host any international sporting events at all.
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Old 01-20-2008, 02:59 AM   #6
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Default Re: Chinese ambitions could kill off Australian Open

Dumbest article of the year thus far. It's not going to happen.
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Old 01-20-2008, 02:59 AM   #7
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Default Re: Chinese ambitions could kill off Australian Open

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bremen View Post
Makes me sick that that communist country is allowed to host any international sporting events at all.
They're not Communists, they're just your typical authoritarian regime, just like in Dubai and numerous other places that host tennis events.
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Old 01-20-2008, 03:02 AM   #8
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Default Re: Chinese ambitions could kill off Australian Open

The only possible countries I could see getting a new "slam" would be Spain, Germany, and Russia. However, Spain is rather unlikely due to how similar the event would be to RG. Therefore, it would most likely be Germany or Russia.

That said, considering the fact that China doesn't really have any great tennis talents at the moment, nor has it had a tradition of great tennis players, I think having the Masters Cup in Shanghai should be enough for them.
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Old 01-20-2008, 03:05 AM   #9
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Default Re: Chinese ambitions could kill off Australian Open

china doesn't deserve it. I would rather see spain or russia get it than china. They actually have some decent players. Im sure china can improve it's tennis without a grand slam.
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Old 01-20-2008, 03:06 AM   #10
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Default Re: Chinese ambitions could kill off Australian Open

The Chinese don't even have ambitions. Anyone who saw the Beijing Open last year can see that. Their players are crap and the fans are even worse, I remember the SF Lee-Gonzalez the only spectators were a few Chileans and Koreans.

We'll see what happens at the Olympics this year but again I expect the vast majority of people turning up to be foreign. It's absolutely no wonder that the TMC is moving after this year.
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Old 01-20-2008, 03:22 AM   #11
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Default Re: Chinese ambitions could kill off Australian Open

Also I doubt many people could afford the tickets to watch.
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Old 01-20-2008, 03:45 AM   #12
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Default Re: Chinese ambitions could kill off Australian Open

Someone at Times should have told Pat Cash he is in idiot who should try to sell his garbage to another paper.
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Old 01-20-2008, 03:46 AM   #13
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Default Re: Chinese ambitions could kill off Australian Open

Why are people even taking this seriously? Come on, people, it was written by Pat Cash.
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Old 01-20-2008, 03:46 AM   #14
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Default Re: Chinese ambitions could kill off Australian Open

Not happening.
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Old 01-20-2008, 03:49 AM   #15
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Default Re: Chinese ambitions could kill off Australian Open

What's wrong with China?
You guys should blame the one who wrote this stupid article instead of blaming China's "ambition" to add one GS in Asia.

Wake up to know the real China and not the stupid rumors.
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