New Memorial Drive roof secures new tournament

Austadiums   |  Wednesday 6th February 2019

Memorial Drive Tennis Centre will be upgraded, including the addition of a new roof, as international tennis returns to Adelaide for the first time in a decade.

The South Australian Government announced on February 2 that they would contribute $10 million to the project, with Tennis Australia to pitch in $1 million.

As well as the woven fibreglass canopy, new fencing and lighting is planned, as well as a refurbishment of four courts.

Capacity will remain at 5,000-seats and work is expected to be completed in time for the 2020 summer.

The new week-long as-yet unnamed ATP and WTA tournament essentially replaces the Sydney International and will feature 120 of the top players in the world.

In a major shake-up of the Australian summer of tennis, it was recently announced by Tennis Australia that a new ATP Cup would be staged from January 2020 with the finals to be played at an upgraded Ken Rosewall Arena in Sydney and the preliminary rounds played at Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane and another yet to be named city.

The 2020 Australian Open will commence one week later than it traditionally has, with the two-week tournament to start on January 20 at Melbourne Park.

Doubt remains over the future of the Hopman Cup and Hobart International. And while it appears obvious the World Tennis Challenge will no longer be staged in Adelaide, it’s unknown if the Kooyong International will continue. All will be announced in the coming months as the make-up of the Australian Open lead-up is confirmed.

The redevelopment work is significantly less than the $150 million redevelopment plans proposed 12 months earlier, in January 2018. Those plans featured a brand new 6,000-seat indoor multi-purpose arena that as well as tennis, could also host basketball and netball. At the time, the current facility was described as “tired” and not meeting international standards.

Memorial Drive Tennis Association’s history dates back to 1914, with the first courts opened in 1921 and first clubhouse and grandstand in 1923. The existing northern grandstand that still stands today was built in 1938 and the centre was last redeveloped back in 1999.

Major redevelopment plans were first mooted back in 2010, with a proposal to put a roof on the tennis centre as part of the Adelaide Oval redevelopment, before another redevelopment was suggested in 2014.

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