Hobart to court international tennis superstars

HOBART is set to host some of the superstars of international women’s tennis when it presents the Fed Cup Tie between Australia and tennis powerhouse Russia launches at the Domain Tennis Centre in February 2014.

It is the second Fed Cup tie secured by Tasmania since the upgrade of the centre in 2010, jointly funded by the state and federal governments and the Hobart City Council.

Tennis Tasmania president Peter Armstrong said the Cup, which is the highest event for women’s tennis, was a major coup for Tasmanian tennis and the state’s tourism industry.

“This is a fantastic announcement and Tasmania is privileged to host an event of this calibre,” he said.

“Russia is one of the top two women’s tennis team in the world, with Italy, and will be playing against Australia’s very own Sam Stosur and up-and-coming junior Ashleigh Barty.

“These events are of course, extremely sought after and will guarantee Tasmania a place in the international spotlight.

“The Domain Tennis Centre is one of the best facilities in Australia for this type of event and its picturesque qualities are part of its worldwide attraction.”

Mr Armstrong said the Fed Cup would be the climax of a blockbuster two-week competition in tennis.

The team selected to represent Australia will be drawn from well-known elite players including Samantha Stosur, Casey Dellacqua, Ashleigh Barty, Jarmilia Gajdosova, Anastasia Rodionova and Olivia Rogowska.

Representing the Russian side include Maria Sharapova, Maria Kirilenko and Elena Vesnina.

“The two-day round, which is played out in four singles and one double, will be a crucial time for Australian tennis – it will be a hard fought tie.”

Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings said the state government was proud to be supporting the event with a grant of $50,000.

“This is a modest investment for an international event, which will attract a huge contingent of travelling media, support staff and fans, along with television coverage around the world,” she said.

“The direct economic [gains] generated from accommodation, travel, shopping, food and beverages, and event tickets is expected to be more than $1 million, along with priceless marketing opportunities.

“Another really exciting part of this announcement is the community engagement opportunities that will be provided for school groups to attend practice matches and the potential to meet with players in the week leading up to the event.”

The Fed Cup round will add to Tasmania’s bumper calendar of summer events including the Taste Festival, Mona Foma, Festivale and the Hobart International.

Ms Giddings said the International and Fed Cup will bookend a five-week festival of tennis in Tasmania, which also includes the Burnie International and the Launceston Tennis International.

The Fed Cup Tie will be held from February 8-9 next year at the Domain Tennis Centre.

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