Australian tennis players, such as Lleyton Hewitt, have been hugely successful in tournaments including Wimbledon and the Davis Cup. The Brisbane International brings some of the best players from across the globe to compete in Queensland at the beginning of every year. The tournament may be relatively new in its current form, but it has a long history, including a change of playing surface and competition category. The venue for the Brisbane International is open to the public, who can develop the tennis skills they admire in the tournament's champions.
Origin of the Brisbane International
The Brisbane International is part of the Australian Open series. Although the International fully came into being in the 2000s, its origin dates back to competitions in the 1970s. The formation of the Grand Prix tennis circuit, a men's tennis tour that started in 1970, led to the organisers developing a South West Pacific season to support the Australian Open, which was taking place in Brisbane at that time.
Changes to the tournament name and playing surface
With various name and scheduling changes over the years, the history of the tournament became chaotic in the 1970s. A regular competition began in 1981 with the title, South Australian Open. In the 1990s, there were the Australian Men's Hardcourt Championships and the Tier III Gold Coast Classic for female players, which later became the Thalgo Australian Women's Hardcourts.
The early professional events were on outdoor grass courts. However, when the playing surface for the Australian Open changed to hard courts, the South Australian Open tournament followed suit in 1988.
Formation of the Brisbane International
The Brisbane International competition began when the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and Women's Tennis Association (WTA) combined their tournaments in 2009 as part of major changes to tour calendars. The two original tournaments were the men's Next Generation Adelaide International and the Mondial Australian Women's Hardcourts.
Reasons for forming the Brisbane International
Tennis Australia, the governing body for the sport in the country, merged the events to create an attractive alternative to top players who may be tempted by lucrative worldwide tournaments in the lead up to the Australian Open, which is the first Grand Slam of the season. The aim of the Brisbane International is to make these players invest in preparing in Australia.
Tournament category for the Brisbane International
The Brisbane International started as an International level tournament, which is a category that replaced Tier III and Tier IV. In 2012, the WTA elevated the tournament to the top-flight Premier level, which is equivalent to the old Tier I and Tier II competitions. This led to an increase in prize money, with the purse going all the way up to $1 million in 2013.
Brisbane International venue
The Brisbane International takes place on hard outdoor courts at the Queensland Tennis Centre in early January. The centre court, called the Pat Rafter Arena, has 5,500 seats, with a temporary capacity for an extra 1,500. In addition to hosting the Brisbane International, the Queensland Tennis Centre offers court hire for the public and private coaching for children and adults.
Visitors without personal tennis equipment can rent tennis racquets and balls. It has regular fixture competitions and social activities, as well as retail facilities. The centre closes for public use during the Brisbane International.
Brisbane International winners
The Brisbane International attracts world-class tennis players. Lleyton Hewitt won the title in 2014. He also holds three titles from earlier incarnations of the tournament before 2009, so as of 2014, he holds the title for the most appearances in the competition's men's finals.
The full roster of men's singles champions also includes Radek Stepanek, Andy Roddick, Robin Soderling, and two-time winner in 2012 and 2013, Andy Murray. The women's singles champions at the Brisbane International are Victoria Azarenka, Kim Clijsters, Petra Kvitova, Kaia Kanepi, and two-time winner in 2013 and 2014, Serena Williams.
How to buy tennis products on eBay
Whether you enjoy watching superstar tennis players at the Brisbane International or prefer hitting the ball over the net at a local club, you can find tennis memorabilia and equipment on eBay. Each page on the site has a handy search box, where you can enter terms that help you to find items, for example, "tennis balls" or "Lleyton Hewitt photo". The Brisbane International is a chance to sample some of the greatest tennis played around the world as the country prepares for the Australian Open.