Defending the grand slam

Government intervention, urban renewal and keeping the Australian Open

Authored by: Alistair John , Brent McDonald

Routledge Handbook of Tennis

Print publication date:  February  2019
Online publication date:  February  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138691933
eBook ISBN: 9781315533575
Adobe ISBN:


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On the 13 October 2015, the Victorian Treasurer, Tim Pallas, was quoted as saying, with reference to the Australian Open: ‘We’re investing in our sporting infrastructure to ensure it remains the envy of cities all over the world, and to maintain our status as the sporting capital’. 1 This basic idea has been part of Melbourne’s urban entrepreneurial strategy for some time, and is similar to strategies in a number of other post-industrial cities. Over the past three decades, Melbourne has attempted to transform itself from a city based on manufacturing to one founded upon consumption. This has been accomplished with an urban design that has re-packaged the landscape to exhibit the city as an exciting, clean and safe space for both work and leisure (Schimmel 2006). This chapter examines the establishment of the National Tennis Centre (NTC) in Melbourne, Australia, and the Victorian State Government’s appropriation of the Australian Open Tennis Championships as the central plank of its urban entrepreneurial strategy. In particular, we consider how the retention of the Australian Open, and the political justification for continued state funding, is framed to satisfy local (historical) and global (aspirational) needs.

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