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Tennis: Woodbridge serves up Australian Open trophies ahead of A-Pac Playoff

Todd Woodbridge, winner of 22 Grand Slam doubles titles, with the Australian Open trophies in Hong Kong, the final stop of a seven-city tour across Asia promoting ‘The Grand Slam of Asia-Pacific’.

Todd Woodbridge, winner of 22 Grand Slam doubles titles, with the Australian Open trophies in Hong Kong, the final stop of a seven-city tour across Asia promoting ‘The Grand Slam of Asia-Pacific’.

October 22, 2013: Australian tennis legend Todd Woodbridge, winner of 22 Grand Slam doubles titles, showed off the Australian Open’s men’s and women’s trophies on a mini tennis court overlooking the city skyline while announcing details of the upcoming Asia-Pacific Wildcard Playoff.


The event was organised as part of a seven-stop Asian tour that has seen the iconic Australian Open trophies cover more than 100,000 kilometres on their way to Hong Kong via Seoul, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen.


Arguably the world’s biggest sporting event in January, the Australian Open is the billed as ‘The Grand Slam of Asia-Pacific’, its profile fuelled by the success of homegrown stars such as China’s Li Na who reached the singles final in 2011 and 2013.


“It’s fantastic to be back in Hong Kong,” said Woodbridge, 42. “This is the first time the 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 of 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, the Australian Open held its first Asia-Pacific Wildcard Playoff in Nanjing, China, with China’s Wu Di and rising women’s star Zhang Yuxuan, then 18, winning places in the main draw.


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,” Woodbridge continued.


“We’ve seen how important homegrown champions are to the sport, with the success of China’s own Li Na a prime example. The Asia-Pacific Wildcard Playoff is also a platform to promote local players and give them valuable exposure at the beginning of their careers.”


The exhibition was supported by Fox Sports, the tournament’s Official Broadcast Partner in Asia, 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.

“Next month’s Asia-Pacific Wildcard Playoff in Shenzhen will feature top Asian players in fierce competition for coveted Australian Open wildcards in both singles and doubles.”


The final two days of this year’s Asia-Pacific Wildcard Playoff, from November 23-24, will be broadcast on Fox Sports’ network in Asia, and on Guangdong TV Sport Centre in China. In 2012 the playoffs were broadcast to an audience of 190 million and live-streamed on major online portals globally.


The 2014 Australian Open will be held from January 13-26 and 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 was supported by Kia Motors and Lacoste.


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