Aussie fans are calling on Tennis Australia to find a solution after the ATP and WTA tours were recently dumped from mainstream TV. Tennis tournaments were previously broadcast on Foxtel via Bein Sports, but the pay TV provider recently did away with the channel due to a lack of interest in international football.
But the decision has also meant Aussie fans can't watch any tennis (outside of the four grand slams) without paying to stream Tennis TV or Bein Sports online. Australia's No.1 player Alex de Minaur has enjoyed a remarkable run of late, making two finals on the ATP Tour and rising to a career-high ranking of No.12.
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Max Purcell and Alexei Popyrin both recently entered the top-50, while Australia boasts eight male players in the top 100. Along with De Minaur (13), Popyrin (40) and Purcell (47), Australia also has Jordan Thompson (50), Aleksander Vukic (51), Christopher O'Connell (68), Thanasi Kokkinakis (77) and Jason Kubler (86).
But Aussie fans have been unable to watch any of them in action and left largely in the dark about their brilliant progress. On Wednesday, AAP reporter Darren Walton said of the situation: "It’s a bit of a joke and major concern that Australia, which hosts a grand slam, no longer broadcasts WTA or ATP tour events. I mean, what are the governing bodies doing about this? Is that it - game, set, match for tennis on TV in Oz outside of slams. That’ll grow the game!"
Commentator Peter Johnston commented: "In Australia it’s a horrible situation. All ATP and WTA tour gone from Foxtel and Kayo. Over 4 million subscribers lose 100 Tour events. Simple solution - Tennis Australia to do a deal on the Foxtel rights fee to BeIN who own the rights and get it on Stan/9."
Just a disaster. Been on my mind for a while and need to get around to writing something. Won’t make a difference but might be cathartic at the very least.
— Steve (@Ace_Previews) August 23, 2023
In announcing their decision to punt Bein Sports earlier this year, Foxtel said: “As part of our constant evaluation of programming and channels, we have made the decision not to renew our partnership with BeIn Sports. We continue to be the home of Australia’s biggest and fastest growing sports including NRL, AFL, Cricket, Netball, NBL, Motorsports and many others which we distribute through a wide variety of channels across Foxtel and stream on Kayo Sports.” The only hope for Aussie tennis fans is that Tennis Australia will step in and fork out some cash to do some sort of broadcast deal.
Alex de Minaur and Ajla Tomljanovic lead Aussies at US Open
Meanwhile, De Minaur and Aussie women's No.1 Ajla Tomljanovic will lead the Australian charge at the US Open - starting on Monday. Thankfully Aussie fans will be able to watch all the action on Channel 9 and Stan Sport.
Tomljanovic will be making her long-awaited return after a nine-month injury lay-off. The World No.130 ws forced to withdraw on the eve of the Australian Open and hasn't been able to play since.
Tomljanovic will be back on the New York stage where she famously beat Serena Williams last year in the final singles match of the American legend's career. The 30-year-old has been drawn to face Hungary's Panna Udvardy in her comeback match.
De Minaur, Kokkinakis and Popyrin will all face qualifiers in the opening round, while Vukic will face a huge task against World No.12 Alexander Zverev. It will be an all-Aussie match-up as Purcell faces fellow Sydneysider O'Connell.
Daria Saville, who is also on the comeback trail after her latest injury, is set for a potential second-round meeting with reigning champion and top seed Iga Swiatek. But she will have to get past US teenager Clervie Ngounoue in the first round.
Who the Aussies play in first round at US Open:
Alex de Minaur v Qualifier
Jordan Thompson v Botic van de Zandschulp (NED)
Thanasi Kokkinakis v Qualifier
Aleksandar Vukic v Alexander Zverev (GER)
Max Purcell v Chris O'Connell
Rinky Hijikata v Paval Kotov (RUS)
Alexei Popyrin v Qualifier
Jason Kubler v Matteo Arnaldi (ITA)
Storm Hunter v Karolina Muchova (CZE)
Daria Saville v Clervie Ngounoue (USA)
Ajla Tomljanovic v Panna Udvardy (HUN)
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