Major upgrade for Sydney Tennis Centre
The Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre will receive a much-needed $50 million upgrade and host the new ATP Cup in a shakeup of the Australian summer of tennis.
Built in 1999 for the Sydney Olympics, the home of the Sydney International has remained largely untouched, but that will change with the redevelopment to be completed by November 2019.
The improvements to the venue, announced by the NSW Government, include a canopy roof covering Ken Rosewall Arena and Show Court One.
A new timber sprung floor will allow the 10,500-capacity arena to be used for multi-sport use, including Netball. Upgraded lighting, player and media facilities will also be included as part of the project to bring the venue up to international standard. It will give Sydney another indoor arena which is needed, albeit not centrally-located to the city.
Since the NSW Government sold the Sydney Entertainment Centre in 2015 to make way for apartments, Australia’s largest city has been without an inner-city indoor arena. Despite a new arena being promised, one has yet to be built and is unlikely given the opposition to stadium funding.
The new ATP Cup will be held in Sydney and Brisbane with a third capital city to be confirmed soon. The preliminary round-robin rounds will be staged across six days in the three capital cities, with Sydney then hosting the quarter-finals, semi-final and final over the remaining four days.
Commencing on January 3, the $22 million event will feature 24-nation men’s teams competition bringing together the best players on the planet.
The make-up of the rest of the lead-in to the Australian Open is expected to be announced by Tennis Australia in the next fortnight. It has been confirmed the Brisbane International will be retained as a women’s-only tournament while the Sydney International will remain for both men and women.
Uncertainty remains around the Hopman Cup in Perth, while nothing has been mentioned about the Hobart International, Adelaide's World Tennis Challenge and the Kooyong Classic in Melbourne.
Tennis Australia announced early last year that Memorial Drive will be upgraded, including a potential new world-class main arena featuring a retractable roof, meaning the third host city of the ATP Cup may well be Adelaide.
Meanwhile, improvements to the Rod Laver Arena roof have been unveiled with the main arena of the Australian Open now able to close its roof in just five minutes. Previously it took half an hour. It’s one of several improvements being made to the 30-year-old venue as part of its major upgrade.
A new Eastern Annexe is now open and will serve as the main entrance while new blue seats are being installed. Next up at Melbourne Park, a new 5,000-seat show court and function and media centre will be built as part of the latest stage of the Melbourne Park redevelopment.
The 2019 Australian Open commences on January 14 at Melbourne Park.