World-class women’s tennis will return to the Queensland Tennis Centre in April after Brisbane secured hosting rights for the blockbuster Fed Cup semi-final between Australia and Belarus.
Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said the semi-final tie would take place on April 20-21 and see Australia’s team, likely headed by Queenslander Ashleigh Barty, take on Belarus for a place in the final.
“This is great news for tennis fans across Queensland and Australia because it means even more elite tennis will be played right here in Brisbane – already home to the Brisbane International and from next year, the new ATP Cup,” Ms Jones said.
“Tennis is loved by Queenslanders right across the state. The Brisbane International attracts tens of thousands of visitors and injects $10 million into the economy each year, so we expect the Fed Cup to provide a boost to the local tourism sector.
“Ash Barty is one of Queensland’s very top sportswomen so to get the chance to see her play some of the world’s best right here in Brisbane and attempt to secure Australia a spot in the Fed Cup final is not to be missed.
“The Easter weekend is already one of the busiest of the year for tourism operators so hosting the Fed Cup will give visitors another world-class experience to add to their itinerary.”
The Fed Cup tie was secured by the Palaszczuk Government, via Tourism and Events Queensland, Tennis Australia and Brisbane Marketing.
“Since 2015, the Palaszczuk Government has more than doubled the value of Queensland’s major events calendar – this year tipped to generate $800 million for our state,” Ms Jones said.
“This is in stark contrast to the LNP who cut more than $188 million from the tourism budget.
“We’ve restored that funding and we’re investing more in this industry than any government in Queensland’s history which makes announcements like today possible.”
Tennis Queensland CEO Mark Handley said the tie would be a welcome homecoming for the Australian team who defeated the USA in February to earn the semi-final spot.
“We are honoured that Brisbane has been selected to host this world-class Fed Cup semi-final at Pat Rafter Arena,” he said.
“Off the back of an inspiring win against the USA, we couldn’t ask for a finer group of role models than our current Fed Cup team and I know our strong tennis community and sports fans alike will be keen to come and support them in their quest for a place in the World Group Final for the first time since 1993.
“It’s particularly special to be given the opportunity to host this tie in Brisbane, given the recent success of our Queensland players who featured so significantly in the February win against the USA and across the Aussie summer.”
Australian Fed Cup captain Alicia Molik said the team was looking forward to playing in Brisbane.
“Belarus has a group of incredibly strong players and we expect them to be tough but we also know we’ll have terrific support from the fans and look forward to a great turnout in Brisbane,” she said.