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AUSTRALIA NEEDS EVENTS POST US OPEN



There is constant chatter about the schedule of both the ATP and WTA tours and what can be done to shake them up without disturbing things too much.


Well one that can, and should be lobbied for by Tennis Australia, is the ability to host events in the months in the aftermath of the US Open.


After Flushing Meadows, the circuits head to Asia for a three or four week swing before heading to Europe for some indoor hardcourt events that lead into the respective end of year finals.


The question is, why can’t Australia be included within that Asian swing bracket?


A simple answer to the question would be that players simply will not travel so far away from their homes. However, there are solutions and incentives.


The month immediately after Wimbledon is a bit of a waste, with random clay court events that make no sense being there taking place, including the ATP 500 event in Hamburg.


So why not rejig things and place tournaments earlier in the year when the surface would be relevant?


The ATP Tour, for example, could move events like Gstaad, Umag and Hamburg to slots before Roland Garros to give players more of an opportunity to acclimatise to the European clay ahead of the year’s second slam.


That could open up opportunities to shift the American hard court swing forward a few weeks to make its culmination at Flushing Meadows an event that commences at the beginning or in the middle portion of August.


Some may argue that the last three Slams of the year might be too close together, but players have more than enough time to recover should they need to.


That extra space in the calendar might create an avenue to hold events in Australia for a small block at around this time of the year in early spring.


The weather is getting warmer and the right amount of points could entice some of the big draw cards to head down under to ply their trade in the Grand Slam nation.


It could allow the cities that don’t host the Australian Open to bring the sport to more people across the nation, as well as allowing those venues more exposure than what they would normally get across the month of January.


From 2000 to 2008, the Gold Coast hosted a WTA event that amalgamated with the Adelaide International to create the Brisbane event that we have grown to love ahead of the Melbourne Park festival.


The Gold Coast would be a picturesque setting for professional tournament in September and October, with the weather being sensational and not too hot that it might have an effect on players towards the end of the season.


Sydney lost the ability to host its own stand alone event due to the United Cup, so could there be a possibility to place an ATP and WTA 500 event in the Harbour City?


It hosted the ATP Finals in 2001 and attracted a gargantuan crowd as Lleyton Hewitt won the first of his two titles at the event.


In addition, our continent has hosted countless Challenger and ITF Futures championships at this time of year across recent years, it definitely works and the facilities across the country are top notch.


These are questions that need to be asked because the sport is still very much a seasonal one in terms of exposure here in Australia, so hosting extra tournaments could go a long way in bringing tennis back into the forefront of sporting minds here.


Imagine seeing the likes of Swiatek, Alcaraz, Gauff, Djokovic, Sabalenka and Medvedev on our shores on an extra occasion, it would be a magnificent spectacle.


It certainly is a long shot, but it definitely can be done.

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