The centre of the tennis world moved distinctly southwards this week as Australia and New Zealand play host to a glut of tournaments. This clustering of tennis awards in the same region over the same time period, particularly at a time when weather conditions in the northern hemisphere are not great for sport, is an organisational masterstroke. It ensures both maximum participation - players can expect to compete in more than one high level competition during the period - and, crucially, maximum media coverage. If its worth while to the players to travel all that way, it is doubly so for the sports media who are the lifeblood of tennis. Co-incidentally, it also offers outstanding corporate hospitality and promotional opportunities to the sponsors too!
The highlight of the current crop of tournaments is, of course, the Australian Open. Held in Melbourne and sponsored this year by KIA Motors, the Open is one of the prestige tournaments in the tennis calendar.
Also featuring in the region during January are the WTA Canberra Womens Classic, the combined WTA/ATP Medibank International (Sydney), the WTA Moorilla International (Hobart), and the ATP Heineken Open (Auckland).