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WIN Entertainment Centre to host critical Fed Cup tie

WIN Entertainment Centre to host critical Fed Cup tie
March 20, 2018

Wollongong’s WIN Entertainment Centre is to host Australia’s Fed Cup by BNP Paribas World Group Play-off against the Netherlands on 21st and 22nd April 2018.

The tie will be played indoors on a purpose-built hard court at the venue, with the hosting secured by Destination NSW and the NSW Government in partnership with Tennis Australia

With the event returning to NSW for the first time since 2003, WIN Sports and Entertainment Centre Venue Manager Marc Swan said much of April will be spent preparing the court for the clash.

Swan told the ABC “we are really excited WIN Entertainment Centre can host international tennis.

“This adds to WIN Stadium’s program over the last six months with Elton John as well as Wigan and Hull. And this certainly adds to that flavour of bringing major international events to Wollongong for everyone to watch.”

Swan is confident in Wollongong’s capability as a special events destination backing venue and Destination Wollongong’s marketing of the city to more potential clients, promoters and venue hirers.

He added “we have been working with Tennis Australia for a number of years in pitching the venue as being ready to host tennis again.

“Now the opportunity has come up to do that we have certainly grabbed it with both hands. And we hope we can welcome Tennis Australia back for future events”.

Australian Fed Cup captain Alicia Molik has fond memories of Wollongong, having played in two ties there against the Netherlands in 2002 and Colombia in 2003.

She explained “we’re excited to play another Fed Cup tie at home. I had success in Wollongong as a player and I really hope the girls can channel this when we take on the Netherlands next month.

“This all-important tie marks a chance for Australia to return to the top tier in women’s tennis for the first time since 2015.”

With the Harlem Globetrotters appearing at the venue on 16th April the WIN Entertainment Centre’s tennis court will be levelled and painted before the basketball court is placed over the top.

Swan explained that the current favoured option is to sand back and repaint the surface previously used, adding “there is a fair bit of work to go into that to make it level and bring it up to standard. So in April there will be a lot of work in between events to prepare the surface.

“As soon as the Harlem Globetrotters is finished we will go straight back into tennis mode. We are expecting 5000 fans each day.”

Destination Wollongong General Manager Mark Sleigh said Destination NSW and the NSW Government were instrumental in working with Tennis Australia on securing the major event. Discussions have been held with Tennis Australia about hosting a Fed Cup tie again for a while but in the end it was the captain’s decision about where the team should play.

He explained “Alicia Molik was here in 2002 the last time the Netherlands played and she has made a decision to come back to Wollongong.

“It is another fantastic example of the versatility of this area. A whole series of fantastic events have been held here recently. This facility is really putting Wollongong on the map bringing world class events to town.

“What event operators see is a really welcoming and enthusiastic community that wants to come out and be part of the opportunity to in this case, see a really strong Australian tennis team. And there will be significant media nationally and internationally.”

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall added “Australia has a long and proud history as one of the best tennis nations in the world and with three women currently ranked in the world’s top 50, we are primed for a return to the elite World Group.

“This event is expected to attract more than 700 domestic and international overnight visitors to Wollongong, injecting approximately $370,000 into the local visitor economy which is great news for local businesses, restaurants, shops and tourism providers.”

Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said the announcement of the Fed Cup coming to Wollongong being made the same time as a Sheffield Shield game was being played at North Dalton Park says a lot about the city.

He advised “(this) will attract more visitors to the city. It is showcasing Wollongong as a place where there is certainly heaps of entertainment and sport.

"This is really exciting news for Wollongong's tennis fans who have the opportunity to see some top Australian players right on their doorstep

Fed Cup by BNP Paribas is the World Cup of Tennis. It is the largest annual international team competition in women’s sport, with 98 nations entered in 2018. The competition is 55 years old, having been founded in 1963.

Images: Fed Cup action at the WIN Entertainment Centre in 2002 (top); Casey Dellacqua, Ashleigh Barty, Daria Gavrilova and Destanee Aiava were the four tennis players chosen to represent Australia for the Fed Cup tie against the Ukraine in Canberra (middle) and the WIN Entertainment Centre entrance (below).

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