2016 Australian Open To Be Bigger And Better

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Copyright © 2015. No duplication is permitted without permission from Bob Larson Tennis.

Both prize money and tennis geopolitical reach will be increased at the 2016 Australian Open, with organizers touting another series of improvements and marketing initiatives. The event from January 18 will fire another shot in the ever-spiraling grand slam event prize  money escalation wars, with Melbourne laying on another healthy 10 per cent rise in payouts.

But ever more important than the flash paydays will be the PR campaign that the self-proclaimed Grand Slam of the Asia-Pacific is rolling out in its Asian hinterlands to the north, where additional tennis expansion is seen as key to future revenues.

The tournament launch was proclaimed jointly in both Melbourne and at a breakfast in Shanghai at the current Masters event featuring fellow left-handed legends Rod Laver and Rafael Nadal.

The tennis pair stayed straight on message during their remarks, with official “friend of the Open” Nadal saying: “Every year I look forward to play in Melbourne, I have great memories of not only winning the title but each year is a great experience for me as a player.

“It’s fantastic to play at the ‘Happy Slam’ and for us, it’s true – we love to play the Australian Open and we’re always happy to be there. It’s exciting to launch the event here in Shanghai. Tennis has become so popular in Asia and it’s great to share our sport of tennis with all our fans.”

Added Laver: “Tennis has become such a global sport and it’s great to see so many Asian fans hitting the court and following the Australian Open. (China’s retired) Li Na was a tremendous role model and (Japan’s) Kei Nishikori is one of the most exciting players on the circuit; it’s great to see them leading the way.”

Among initiatives announced during the 2016 presentation:
— a free festival at Birrarung Marr, behind Federation Square in Melbourne just downriver from the tennis complex. The event will offer free tennis for kids, a food festival and matches on the big screen.
— launch of the Australian Open We Chat account, a social media platform used by more than 600 million people worldwide, mainly in China
— A friendship agreement with the Shanghai Masters ATP event – being played this week – with the tournaments sharing information and resources.
–A Women in Focus lunch set to feature Li Na and Martina Navratilova in Shanghai this week,
— Opening of a Tennis Australia office in Hong Kong to further raise awareness of the tournament in China’s thriving window on the Western world.
–Television agreements with 12 Asia-Pacific broadcasters, including six in China alone

“The Australian Open is not just for local tennis fans; it is the Grand Slam of Asia-Pacific and it is a priority for us that we continue to develop the sport and our relations in the region,” said commercial director Richard Heaselgrave.

“Every year we dedicate more resources, generate more content and develop closer ties within greater China. We have a long-term commitment to the region and are excited by what we can achieve in the future.”

The upcoming edition will be the last for Australian Lleyton Hewitt, who will retire when his run is done and is set to take over as Davis Cup captain.

The 34-year-old will be playing in his 20th edition of the home major on a wild card entry.

Copyright © 2015. No duplication is permitted without permission from Bob Larson Tennis.