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