Monday, January 31, 2005

Safin and Williams Triumph Down Under

2005 Australian Open Men's Singles Champion Marat Safin with the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup TrophyRussian Marat Safin and America's Serena Williams were the respective men's and women's singles champions at the first Grand Slam tennis tournament of the year, the Australian Open.

Marat beat local hero Lleyton Hewitt to claim the title and the magnificent Norman Brookes Challenge Cup (pictured, right).

Williams beat fellow American Lindsay Davenport to take the title, and the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup, for the second time.

The finals of the Melbourne tournament were watched by thousands of Australians at two giant outdoor screens in Sydney and Melbourne's Federation Square. These broadcasts were presented by the event's newest 'Partner-level Sponsor', American Express. The financial services giant had previously been an Offical Sponsor for the Australian Open, but increased its level of sponsorship this year. It was rewarded with a week's worth of free outdoor broadcasts at the two public venues, including the excitement of a men's singles final involving local hope Lleyton Hewitt.