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Melbourne to keep Australian Open

October 14, 2008 18:21 IST

Organisers of the Australian Open say they expect the tournament will remain in Melbourne despite an offer to move the grand slam event to Sydney when the current contract expires in 2016.

The Australian Open has become the centre of a tug of war between the country's two most populated states after New South Wales announced plans to poach the event from Victoria.

Although the tournament has been shared between Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth and even New Zealand since it's inception in 1905, it has been played continually at Melbourne Park since 1988.

Tennis Australia are currently negotiating with Victoria state officials about a possible upgrade of facilities at Melbourne Park and are confident the plans will be approved to keep the event where it is.

"We've got a business case study going on right now as to what the future needs to deliver for us. We are very happy with the way in which things are operating there," Tennis Australia chief executive Steve Wood told reporters in Brisbane on Tuesday.

"We are going to deliver on our contract at Melbourne, we've had a great run, massive growth in Melbourne.

"Australia is really behind the event as a grand slam. It's a good event in Melbourne."

Wood was speaking at the official launch of the Brisbane International, a new event co-sanctioned by both the men's and women's professional tours.

The tournament will be played in the Queensland state's new tennis centre from Jan. 4-10 and will feature a range of top players including reigning Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic and recent finalists Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Marcos Baghdatis, and French Open winner Ana Ivanovic.

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