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http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,22920572-11088,00.html

Tennis Australia says Australian Open at crossroads
Leo Schlink

THE grand slam status of the Australian Open remains at risk, according to Tennis Australia.

TA is gravely concerned Melbourne Park, once the grand slam stadia benchmark, has fallen behind its three older rivals.

"The Australian Open, one of the world's four grand slams, is at a crossroad, its future position and existence at risk," TA's annual report warned.

"Demand for the right to stage tennis events has increased dramatically in the past five years, with significant financial backing available in Asia and the Middle East.

"And we are seeing our grand slam partners supercede our once state-of-the-art facilities with massive investments in their own facilities."

TA's alarm comes as two of the world's leading tennis figures - Romanian promoter Ion Tiriac and French Tennis Federation boss Christian Bimes - raised the possibility of changes to the grand slam landscape.

Tiriac, who runs the successful Madrid Masters series, has told the International Tennis Federation he wants to create more majors.

And Bimes, regarded as a tennis progressive, concedes Wimbledon and the Australian, French and US Opens could soon have company.

"Roland Garros will not lose its grand slam status, but I'm convinced that if we don't make progress, there will one day be a fifth grand slam event in Asia and possibly a sixth in Europe," Bimes said.

"The losers would be the French Open and Wimbledon. We want to avoid that at any cost."


Officials at the Australian Open, which positioned itself in 2003 as the grand slam of the Asia Pacific, are acutely aware of Melbourne Park's urgent need of refurbishment.

TA wants a $300 million upgrade and has applied for State Government funding.

"During the past two financial years, Wimbledon, Flushing Meadows and Roland Garros have invested $195 million on redevelopments," TA's report said.

"Qi Zhong stadium in Shanghai, venue of the Tennis Masters Cup, saw an initial investment of $283 million, with a further 80 hectares of land available for redevelopment.

"Since the construction of Vodafone Arena in 2000, there have been only two major capital improvements at Melbourne Park - Rod Laver Arena seating replacement and construction of the city entrance.

"In order to maintain the AO's grand slam status, TA requires substantial investment into venue facilities and infrastructure.

"To this end, the operations and events business unit, in conjunction with Melbourne and Olympic Parks Trust, compiled a master plan: 'Tennis at Melbourne Park - a vision for the future'."

If successful, the redevelopment would include new administrative, player and public facilities.

Plans also include a tennis heritage museum, a technology building, upgrades of Rod Laver Arena and other show courts and improved transport accessibility to the site.
 

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i am right again! even my seemingly wild predictions are coming true!

The emerging markets of China and India has been the focus of corporates in the last 2 decades.I predict a GS in both countries! that would be a huge windfall for the ATP.

I don't see GS in Europe making sense unless they talk about Russia, the only country of 100 million+
 

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Not gonna happen for at least another twenty years.

1. Tiriac can throw all the money he wants into tennis but he can't bribe the ITF into giving him a slam. People like Nike, IMG and the other countries with vested interests in the slams have way more power than Tiriac and can easily veto his attempts. If the oil sheiks with all their money can only get a 500 tourney, what makes Tiriac think that he can get a Slam?

2. The Australian Open is not at risk of disappearing. TA is trying to get $300 million to refinance their facilities so of course they're going to go with the alarmist route. They want to draw more attention to their cause so they'll say outlandish things to get that attention. Mission accomplished.

3. A Masters Series has already been planned for the Chinese market and they can host the Cup again if they bid for it. If Tiriac wants his "fifth slam" why doesn't he just put in a substantial bid for the YEC? That way he can do without the crap he'd have to put up with when it comes to legitimizing his search for a 5th slam. Oh wait, he can't because he can't compete with the Chinese and the Arabs when it comes to cash. Too bad for Tiriac, then.
 

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Re: the Melbourne facility upgrade proposal, it's already fantastic for fans IMO, $300m for a museum and upgrades, GTFO
 

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...and that's how Tennis finished being Tennis and started being F-1. If this is true, I can see the Bahrein GS coming soon.
 

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Tiriac as usual is speaking out of his arse and it's running down his leg. This is the guy who said about Round Robin I have been waiting for Round Robin for 40 years.

Lets say this I can create a tournament in my village and call it a Grand Slam, doesn't mean it's going to be seen as one.
 

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Anyone who has been to all four Slams knows that AO provides the most spectator friendly facilities. Arguing that they might lose their GS status if they dont invest XXX million AUD is just ridiculous.
 

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I would die a little inside if they added a "Fifth Slam" ... but if they did add a Slam in Dubai or Beijing, at least tennis snobs would hate on the US Open less. :tape:
 

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Ask Miami how that '5th Slam' thing worked out. If Shanghai was such a great place for tennis, then the ATP would not have actively looked to move the Masters Cup back to Europe (and from what I understand, they did go looking for a new venue).

The players want the season to be shorter, not longer. When the tour creates more 'big events' it gives players an excuse to skip the smaller events, and the smaller events suffer. I don't see more grand slams on the calendar.
 

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the Lipton Championships (Miami) were founded on the same basis.
the so called 5th slam, 5 setters all the way thru.
didnt last long, cos it wasnt a slam, was never gonna be a slam.

it changed to final only a 5 setter
now not even that is a 5 setter :eek:
 
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