AO Press Release, October 1, 2018
Twenty-two time Grand Slam champion Todd Woodbridge joined Asian Tennis Federation President and All India Tennis Association Life President Anil Kumar Khanna to officially launch the Australian Open in India for the first time.
The Governor of Victoria, the Hon. Linda Dessau AC and Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner to India Rod Hilton were also in attendance at the R. K. Khanna Tennis Complex in New Delhi. The event was held last Friday as part of Australia Fest, a six-month celebration of Australian culture taking place in 20 cities across India.
“India is home to some of the world’s most passionate sports and tennis fans and I’m delighted we are officially launching the Australian Open here for the very first time,” Tennis Australia CEO and Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said.
“India has a proud tennis history with local stars such as Sania Mirza, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupati all achieving Grand Slam wins at the Australian Open in Melbourne.
“Last month’s success at the Asian Games, where India won a gold medal in tennis for the men’s doubles and bronze in the men’s and women’s singles, has seen a resurgence in the popularity of the sport across the sub-continent. This provides us with the ideal audience to share our plans for Australian Open 2019,” Tiley continued.
“This is just the start of our plans to engage more directly with tennis fans in India, and a wonderful opportunity to further cement our position as the Grand Slam of Asia-Pacific.”
“India is a major priority for Tennis Australia and many of our partners, including Kia Motors. We have a long established broadcast partnership with SonySix India and recently signed Indian technology company Infosys as our official innovation partner. We are excited to launch the Australian Open in India and thank both the Australian and Victorian Governments for their assistance,” Mr Tiley said.
“The Australian Open is a highlight of Victoria’s major events calendar each January,” the Governor of Victoria, the Hon. Linda Dessau said.
“To be here to support the Australian Open 2019 Ballkids International Program, introduced in India as part of Australia Fest celebrations, is particularly exciting for us.”
Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner Rod Hilton said, “Australia is well-placed to support India as it seeks to transform its sport ecosystem from the grassroots up to the elite level. The launch of the Australian Open and introduction of its international ballkid program in India is a great opportunity to advance the Australia-India sports partnership.”
Asian Tennis Federation President and All India Tennis Association Life President Anil Kumar Khanna said, “The Australian Open is the home Grand Slam for tennis players across Asia and it is great to be able to bring a taste of the event to India and other nations in the region so everyone can experience the Grand Slam of Asia-Pacific.”
Also attending the launch were 20 local boys and girls keen to join the Australian Open 2019 ballkid tryouts, part of an initiative by Kia Motors to expand their international ballkid program with the support of the Victorian and Federal Governments.