Top tennis players from the Asia-Pacific region will have the chance to win a valuable wildcard into the Australian Open at the inaugural Asia-Pacific Australian Open Wildcard Play-off set for Nanjing, China, in October.
The Asia-Pacific Australian Open Wildcard Play-off initiative was announced in September in Beijing by the Hon. Ted Baillieu, Premier of Victoria, who was joined by Grand Slam® champion and 2011 Australian Open finalist Li Na, and Tennis Australia CEO Steve Wood.
“I’m delighted to announce the first Asia-Pacific Wildcard Play-off for Australian Open 2013 will take place in Nanjing, China, in October,” Premier Baillieu said.
“Melbourne boasts a world-class events calendar and the Australian Open, Grand Slam of Asia-Pacific, is one of Victoria’s, and indeed Australia’s, most successful events and attracts thousands of visitors from Asia each year. The success of China’s home-grown champion Li Na continues to build interest and excitement for both the sport and the tournament.
“We are very pleased to have Grand Slam champion Li Na with us here today, along with the magnificent Australian Open women’s trophy, the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup. Li Na, we look forward to seeing you in Melbourne in January and wish you all the very best for Australian Open 2013,” Premier Baillieu continued.
Tennis Australia CEO Steve Wood outlined the importance of the Asia-Pacific region to the Australian Open, announcing a new exchange program with the China Open that will see six Chinese ballkids displaying their skills on court at the Australian Open.
“The Chinese Ballkid Exchange Program, the Asia-Pacific Wildcard Play-off and the Australian Open International Trophy Tour are all just part of our ongoing mission to promote and develop the sport of tennis in China and the Asia-Pacific region. We are also working closely with the China Tennis Association and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them for their assistance with the delivery of the Wildcard Play- off tournament in Nanjing,” Wood said.
“We appreciate the support of the Victorian Government, not only for their assistance in promoting the event internationally, but for their long-term commitment to upgrading our home at Melbourne Park. The current $363 million redevelopment project will see the Australian Open lead the world in Grand Slam facilities, with three stadium courts featuring retractable roofs by 2015.
“There has been a 400 percent increase in visitation to the Australian Open from the Asia-Pacific region over the past eight years and in 2012 the Australian Open’s official ticketing agents and tour operators saw a 30 percent increase in ticket sales from the previous year.
“More than half the Australian Open’s global media value is now generated from the Asia-Pacific region and new broadcast deals include access to an additional 65 million homes.”
“And when Li Na made her historic run to the final in 2011 we achieved the highest ever broadcast exposure throughout Asia, and China in particular, with 135 million tuning in across the region,” Wood continued.
Asia-Pacific Australian Open Wildcard Play-off
Date: 15–21 October 2012
Venue: National Tennis Academy of China, Nanjing Sport Institute
Both male and female winners of the Australian Open Asia-Pacific Wildcard Play-off will be awarded a wildcard into the main draw of the Australian Open. Both winners will receive complimentary accommodation from Crown Melbourne during their participation in the Australian Open.
The Asia-Pacific Australian Open Wildcard Play-off is presented in association with Rolex with assistance from the China Tennis Association (CTA) and the Beijing International Group.
Australian Open International Trophy Tour
Dates: 2–21 October 2012
The magnificent Australian Open trophies – the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup and the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup – first toured internationally in 2011 and visited Beijing, Shanghai and Li Na’s home town of Wuhan. This year the International Trophy Tour kicks off in Japan before returning to China.
2-4 October Tokyo
6-7 October Beijing
9-11 October Fuzhou
13-15 October Nanjing
17-18 October Shanghai
19-21 October Beijing
Australian Open Chinese Ballkid Exchange Program
Dates: China Open: 23 September–7 October 2012/Australian Open 14–27 January 2013
Tennis Australia is involved in the training of ballkids and ballkid coordinators at the China Open as part of our ongoing promotion of tennis in the region. The Chinese Ballkid Exchange Program will see six Chinese ballkids selected to work at the Australian Open. They will join the 380-strong Australian Open ballkid squad and work on court with the world’s top players during the Grand Slam event.