Australian Open to stay at Melbourne (Australian Open diary)

January 26th, 2009 - 11:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Jan 26 (IANS) The future of the Australian Open in Melbourne is secure until 2036.Victorian Premier John Brumby Monday committed to a multi-million-dollar plan to keep the Open at Melbourne Park. It is the most significant decision in the 104-year history of the championships.

The biggest tennis event in the southern hemisphere will stay where it belongs as Melbourne Park undergoes a dazzling revamp.

The Victorian government has pledged $5million to develop a capital works programme while the project itself is certain to run into hundreds of millions of dollars.

By completion, Melbourne Park will again stand alongside its grand slam cousins as a world-class arena.

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Dokic earns highest television ratings

Jelena Dokic’s stunning performance in the tournament has prompted unprecedented interest around the host country.

Dokic has been a ratings winner for Channel 7 and she’s become the night-time queen on Rod Laver Arena because of her pulling power with TV audiences.

Channel 7 has been keen to push the scheduling of Dokic at night on the showcase court to maximise prime-time ratings.

A national audience nearing three million viewers is tipped for her quarter-final match with no cricket being televised on rival network Channel 9.

Dokic’s first four matches of the Open have generated peak audiences of about two million viewers.

Her fourth-round clash against Alisa Kleybanova attracted 2.3 million viewers.

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Ivanovic looking for a coach

Serbian Ana Ivanovic, who made an early exit from the tournament, is studying some coaching resumes nowadays.

The 21-year-old has left Melbourne Park and having a few days off at an undisclosed location, according to her management, before returning to chilly Europe.

But the tall right-hander’s priority will be to secure a full-time coach as soon as possible.

“Being without a coach for so long, it’s a little bit tough,” Ivanovic said after Friday night’s 5-7, 7-6, 2-6 loss to Russian Alisa Kleybanova in the third round.

“You just need some direction sometimes and that’s something I felt was missing in my game,” she said.

Her manager, Gavin Versi, said Ivanovic was seeking a former player but, understandably, would not mention any names at this stage.

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