Brisbane’s hope to keep WTA event
A WOMEN'S tour tennis tournament would still be staged in Brisbane in its current week in January from 2020 even if the city loses its men's event.
If Tennis Australia succeeds in bringing a World Team Cup for men to Brisbane and three other Australian capitals from 2020, a WTA Premier level tournament would remain prominently on TA's summer circuit, uncoupled from the men's event that has accompanied it since 2009.
TA chief executive Craig Tiley told News Corp Australia on Sunday that if a WTC was integrated into the January schedule in Australia it "would replace the Brisbane International as it is today''.
But with nine top-20 women playing last week's Brisbane International, TA must provide a tournament with that purse in the first week of January for women wanting matches then for their Australian Open preparations.
The WTC format revealed so far by the ATP, which governs men's tennis, is for as many as 24 national men's teams, each having as many as five players, in a 10-day event starting in the first week of the season.
TA's Brisbane International tournament director Cameron Pearson said talks about a WTC were in the "preliminary phase''.
"Brisbane has long been and will always continue to be a major priority for tennis,'' Pearson said.
"The Brisbane International has proven a great success and our team is committed to continually growing the sport and our events in the city.
"We want to continue to create great events that generate tremendous public interest in the sport and terrific value for their host city.''
If there is to be a WTC in January annually, TA is desperate for it to be in Australia because if it is in another country TA's task would become much harder to entice leading men to play its tournaments before the year's first Grand Slam event.
The WTC final would be in Sydney.
Queensland tennis lovers voted with their feet again last week, with a total attendance of 90,252 for the 10th Brisbane International as a combined women's and men's event.
The Beattie state government approved the $82 million Queensland Tennis Centre in 2006 and the Palaszczuk Government would not want it to be without an annual tournament.
Australian No.1 Nick Kyrgios, the Brisbane International men's winner, said he would like to play a WTC in Australia.
"The more teams events the tour has, the better,'' Kyrgios said.
"It's more entertaining for the crowd. We saw that at the Laver Cup (teams event last year).''
It is understood the ATP favours six WTC pools of four teams, leaving TA to plan on Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide each hosting one pool, with two pools playing matches in more than one city.