July 7, 2006 - 5:13PM
Tennis Australia today announced the national men's and women's hardcourt championships would both be played in Brisbane from 2009.
The men's event will move from Adelaide and the women's from the Gold Coast to a new $77 million tennis centre, which will have a roofed centre court, at Tennyson in Brisbane's south-west.
The combined tournament will be a lead-in event to the annual Australian Open in Melbourne in January.
Tennis Australia CEO Steve Wood said the change of venues for both tournaments enabled the events to be combined.
"The worldwide trend in tennis is moving towards more and more combined tournaments where the public get to see the top men and women playing in the one venue," he said.
"Today's announcement ensures the future growth of both tournaments in this changing world environment for tennis and will strengthen the attraction to top players of preparing here in Australia prior to the Australian Open."
The decision to switch the men's event, now known as the Adelaide International, from the city of churches is a devastating blow to the South Australian government and Tennis SA.
Local hero Hewitt burst into prominence at Memorial Drive in 1998 when he won his first tour title there as a 16-year-old wildcard entry.
Tennis SA president Bill Cossey said the organisation was disappointed to lose the tournament.
"At the same time, we understand the changes in the world calendar with the increasing threats to our domestic circuit from overseas tournaments," he said.
"Unfortunately, Adelaide is currently in no position to sustain a combined event at Memorial Drive."
Former Wimbledon champion and Tennis Queensland president Ashley Cooper said the Tennyson event was a boon for the game in Queensland and for Brisbane, which hasn't hosted a major tennis tournament since the Milton courts shut down in the late 1990s.
"It's going to put us back on the world map," he said.