TOOWOOMBA could one day play host to tennis stars like Daria Gavrilova and Sam Stosur if Toowoomba Regional Council’s bid to host Federation and Davis Cup games in the Garden City is successful.
Building off the success and recognition of the Hutchinson Builder’s Toowoomba International in recent years, the council has been lobbying Tennis Queensland and Tennis Australia in the hopes of convincing them Toowoomba could host higher-tier matches.
Last week mayor Paul Antonio and Tourism and Events Portfolio leader Cr Geoff McDonald attended a local government tennis morning in Brisbane and met with Tennis Queensland representatives to put forward their case.
On Saturday, January 20, Cr Antonio will head to the Australian Open to put Toowoomba’s credentials to Tennis Australia officials.
“In a couple of weeks’ time I’ll be heading down on the last Saturday of the Australian Open and meeting with some of the real decision makers down there in respect to this sort of stuff in the hope we can convince them Toowoomba has the capabilities for providing opportunities for some of the more important tennis events,” Cr Antonio said.
He said talks with Tennis Queensland representatives had so far “been very positive”, and that the trip to Melbourne would be “a fairly critical period in the negotiations”.
Cr McDonald, who was with Cr Antonio in Brisbane last week, said Toowoomba had a record of producing good tennis tournaments.
Do you think Toowoomba can support a high-level tennis tournament?
“Having directors from Tennis Australia attending the HBTI certainly helps to showcase the fact we have a facility that can host those sorts of tournaments,” Cr McDonald said.
“We’ve definitely positions ourselves as one of the leading regional centres to host those sorts of tournaments.
“I actually think a Federation Cup would be absolutely phenomenal, or a Davis Cup.”
While Toowoomba wouldn’t be able to host a Davis Cup with Australia’s current ranking and the event requiring a minimum number of spectators, Cr McDonald said regional Australia “is certainly in the firing line as far as holding those (lower level) events”.
“The women’s Federation Cup is one that is in the eye of tennis Australia as being one to take to regional Australia.”
Cr Antonio said council was working hard on developing sports tourism as it had “enormous potential” for the region.
“We’ve got the Titans and the Broncos coming to town for a trial match next month, the of course in March we have the Titans and St George in a pretty important game,” he said.
“What I think this does for the whole community is it just really lifts things, apart from the fact there’s a real economic benefit.”
Mayor Antonio hosted Cairns Regional Council mayor Bob Manning OAM at an informal lunch yesterday, where the two leaders discussed their respective city’s tennis tournaments.
“These events are important dates on our respective calendars and continue to draw more international players as well as the cream of Australia’s rising tennis talent,” he said.
“Apart from tennis, Bob and I have spoken about exploring ways to attract our respective residents and other visitors to take advantage of the direct flights between our centres.”