Tennis Australia and the Asian Tennis Federation (ATF) have met in Melbourne this week to establish a working group, which will focus on increasing the opportunities in tennis throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
This could prove to be very valuable for Tennis Australia moving forward, with Japanese Tennis stars Naomi Osaka and Kei Nishikori attracting a lot of interest from viewers back home.
The pair has been drawing an average of 4.5 million viewers in Japan for their matches between free-to-air NHK and pay TV WOWOW, while audiences in China are up 20 per cent after week one.
Another 377 million have followed on Chinese social media platform Weibo.
Asian Tennis Federation President, Anil Kumar Khanna, led the discussions whilst attending the Australian Open this week.
“Through this partnership with the team at Tennis Australia, we hope to improve the opportunities for players, coaches and officials across the Asia-Pacific region,” Khanna said.
“Together, we want to be able to address the barriers of cost, travel distance and population by establishing an Asia-Pacific pathway and programs which would lead to more opportunities for enhanced participation for all ages and abilities and see more talented athletes emerge within the region.”
The working group will drive the growth of the sport within the region by focusing on junior participation, collaboration on coaching and expansion of professional playing opportunities.
Tennis Australia Chief Executive and Australian Open Tournament Director, Craig Tiley, also took part in the discussions.
Commenting on their success, Tiley added: “We are proud of our long-held reputation as the Grand Slam of Asia-Pacific and we want to be able to provide increased opportunities for more people in the area.
“By working with the ATF, we will also be able to give our Aussie athletes vital training and tournament opportunities closer to home.”