Sydney must significantly upgrade its tennis infrastructure if it is to host the World Team Cup, which is to be reintroduced to the calendar in 2020.
That is the view of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), which is organising the event.
The organisation hopes to stage the event in January ahead of the first grand slam of the season, the Australian Open. Sydney is viewed as a preferred host destination, but the current state of its tennis venues deems it unfit to stage such a high-profile event, according to the ATP.
“It would be very important for Sydney to have a facility that is up to the highest standard of our sport and especially up to the highest standards of other locations in Australia,” the ATP’s chief player officer, Ross Hutchins, told Fairfax Media.
“If we do send this event to Australia and we are able to secure an agreement, we’d want to be in Sydney, but the board and management and certainly the ATP require the levels to be very, very high, and higher than what they are currently.”
The event last took place in 2012 in the German city of Düsseldorf, which had hosted the tournament since 1978. The tournament launched in 1975.
Bids to host the revamped tournament have reportedly been submitted by Singapore, China and the US, but Australia is said to be the ATP’s preferred option due to the event’s close proximity to the Australian Open.
Sydney’s tennis facilities have remained largely untouched since the city hosted the summer Olympic Games in 2000. The NSW Tennis Centre at the Olympic Park (pictured) hosts the Sydney International, an ATP World Tour 250 event, each year.
The venue’s 10,000-seat centre court, Ken Rosewall Arena, does not have a roof and is not at the required level to host a premier event such as the World Team Cup.
Sydney is behind Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne – host of the Australian Open – in terms of tennis infrastructure. Plans were last week unveiled to redevelop Adelaide’s Memorial Drive tennis centre and a similar upgrade would likely be needed in Sydney if the city were to land the World Team Cup.
Alison Lee, the ATP’s executive vice-president for international, added: “Sydney’s definitely part of the proposal but as we know Sydney’s existing venue at Homebush isn’t anywhere near up to par with the other venues around Australia.
“Tennis in Sydney has been neglected for a long time. We moved out here with the tournament for the Olympics and I don’t think anything’s been done much to the venue out here since then. Something needs to be done certainly in terms of venue as well as investment.”
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