The New South Wales government has announced plans for a Aus$50m (£27.7m/€30.8m/$35.1m) renovation of Ken Rosewall Arena at the Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre in an effort to further its claims to host a new tennis tournament and make the venue suitable to stage top-level netball.
The project will lead to the installation of a roof covering the arena, which has a capacity of 10,000 and was developed to host tennis at the 2000 Summer Olympic Games. New flooring will also be added making the venue suitable for netball, with Sydney’s two Super Netball teams, the Giants and Swifts, set to call the arena their permanent home.
However, the upgrade has been implemented with an eye towards the new national team tournament the men’s Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) is due to launch next year. The ATP Cup will be staged in three Australian cities ahead of the Australian Open.
“There is no doubt that today’s (Friday’s) announcement ensures that Sydney puts itself in the best possible position to bid for and hopefully secure the likes of the ATP Cup,” Tennis NSW chief executive Lawrence Robertson said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper. “We are eagerly awaiting the outcome of that process and hope to hear news on that very shortly.
“The hope is we can have this all tied up before the conclusion of the summer of tennis. Sydney has been crying out for a roof over this venue for many years. Today’s announcement is just a significant step for tennis fans in this city.”
The new-look Ken Rosewall Arena is set to be ready in 2020, with today’s announcement coming as a boost for netball in Sydney. The Giants and Swifts are currently forced to split their games between the 15,000-seat Qudos Bank Arena and 3,800-seat Quaycentre, with the first venue deemed too large and the second too small.
Netball is also forced to compete with concerts at Qudos Bank Arena, which generate more revenue per ticket for the venue. “We have to battle for bookings,” Netball NSW CEO Carolyn Campbell said. “That’s their core business, I’m not negative about it. It is just that we’re competing in a world that we can’t compete in. We have up to five weeks at the moment where there is no availability in Sydney at all, through other bookings.”
She added: “The 10,000-seat venue will serve us very well to grow our membership, which has currently been capped at the smaller venue.”
Image: Sydney Olympic Park