Australian tennis legend Todd Woodbridge, winner of 22 Grand Slam doubles titles, served up a tennis lesson to a group of young players from Hong Kong on a harbour-front court overlooking the iconic city skyline.
The event was organised as part of a six-stop Australian Open Asian tour that has seen the most iconic trophies in Australian sport cover more than 100,000 km on their way to Hong Kong via Seoul, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.
As the Grand Slam of Asia-Pacific, the trophies are visiting Hong Kong to remind sports fans throughout the region that the Australian Open is not only the biggest sporting event in the world in January, but is Asia’s Grand Slam tournament, a profile fuelled by the success of home-grown champions such as China’s Li Na.
Speaking on a court overlooking Victoria Harbour, Woodbridge said, “It’s fantastic to be back in Hong Kong. This is the first time the magnificent Australian Open trophies have visited the city and I’m sure their appearance here will go a long way to raising awareness of not only the Australian Open, but tennis in general in Hong Kong.
“The Australian Open is Asia’s Grand Slam tournament and the only chance for fans to watch the world’s best men and women in action in the Asia-Pacific region. I hope tennis fans across Asia will think about making the trip of a lifetime to come and experience the event for themselves.
“The Australian Open is already big business here, with major contracts in broadcast, sponsorship and ticketing. More than half the Australian Open’s global media value is now generated in Asia and we are committed to promoting the event and growing the sport of tennis throughout the region.
“Last year we staged the highly successful Asia-Pacific Wildcard Play-off in Nanjing, China, with local players Wu Di and Yuxuan Zhang winning coveted Australian Open main draw wildcards. I’m pleased to announce the next edition of the event will take place in Shenzhen in November, with wildcards awarded to the winners in singles, doubles, and for the first time, juniors, who will gain direct entry into the Australian Open Junior Championships.
“This event is vital to grow the sport in the region and provide Grand Slam experience to emerging players. We’ve seen how important home-grown champions are to the sport, with the success of China’s own Li Na a prime example. The Asia-Pacific Wildcard Play-off is also a platform to promote local players and give them valuable exposure at the beginning of their careers.”
The exhibition was supported by the Official Broadcast Partner in Asia, FOX Sports, which celebrated the trophies’ inaugural visit to Hong Kong by taking them on an Australian Open branded open-top bus ride through the streets of the city.
“FOX Sports delivers the most compelling LIVE sport events from around the world and we are delighted to bring all the excitement of the Australian Open to millions of viewers across Asia," said Rix Yu, Vice President – Territory Head, Hong Kong, FOX International Channels.
“In Hong Kong, FOX Sports viewers can also catch all the action on multiple screens and with Cantonese commentary. FOX Sports, along with our affiliate partner, Now TV, will heavily promote Asia-Pacific’s Grand Slam to scores of dedicated fans in Hong Kong.
“In November the second Australian Open Asia-Pacific Wildcard Play-off (AWP) will be staged in Shenzhen, with top Asian players in fierce competition for coveted Australian Open wildcards in both singles and doubles. In 2012 the play-offs were broadcast to an audience of 190 million and live-streamed on major online portals globally.
“I’m proud to announce the final two days of the AWP (Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 November) will be broadcast on FOX Sports’ network in Asia."
In China, AWP will be broadcast on Guangdong TV Sport Centre.
FOX Sports is the official broadcast partner of the Australian Open in Asia. The 2014 Australian Open, starting on 13th of January, will also be showcased live on FOX Sports’ network in Asia across multiple platforms including television, broadband, mobile and IPTV.
The 2013 Australian Open Asia-Pacific Trophy Tour is proudly supported by Kia Motors and Lacoste. FOX Sports Asia is the official broadcast partner of the Australian Open in Asia.