When tennis was in its earlier days, most of the top players came from the
Australia and Western Europe.
Naturally, it made sense that all four grand slams were held within these
places. It's no secret that tennis is
now more global than ever, and some have begun to float the idea of rotating
the locations of the grand slams (at least once every few years) to take
advantage of and bolster the sport's worldwide popularity.
Moving the Australian Open to somewhere in
every so often is the most realistic scenario, and the marketing for the
tournament has even begun to refer to it as the "Grand Slam of
Asia/Pacific." While hosting the
Australian Open in Asia may be confusing from
a marketing perspective (stay tuned for the "Australian/Asian Open"
on ESPN2), it may otherwise be a smart idea.
The ATP and WTA tours have been working feverishly to take advantage of
the growing tennis markets in Asia, and
hosting a grand slam there once every 3 or 4 years would be the next logical
The US Open would obviously stay in
America, but it might be interesting to let a
different city than New York
host the event every 4 or 5 years. There
are a few other cities in the country capable of hosting, even though New
Yorkers would certainly object. Indian
Wells is close to grand slam status already, so why not make it official and
let it host the Open at one point. Cincinnati and Miami
would be the other possible options, given that they also host Masters 1000s
and have the facilities in place.
However, Indian Wells would make the most sense given its Southern California location, prestige and ability to ensure
a strong turnout.
It's also well known that the tours are trying to take advantage of tennis' popularity in South America, so the French Open (name change required) could potentially be moved to clay courts in
Brazil or Argentina once every four years as
well. Confusion could be an issue for
the casual sports fan, but tennis is largely watched by diehard fans who would
adjust to the concept. (Doesn't the
" French/South American Clay
Court Open" just roll off the tongue?).
This isn't to say moving locations of the Grand Slams is necessarily the best idea, but it's a conversation worth having. Tennis players and fans aren't concentrated in a few powerhouse countries like they used to be, and it may help further grow the sport by hosting tennis' biggest events in some new locations.