Women return to Kooyong in 2017Posted on November 16, 2016
After a two decade absence, women will return to the famous Kooyong stadium as part of the player lineup for the 2017 Priceline Pharmacy Kooyong Classic.
Australia’s Ajla Tomljanovic, German Sabine Lisicki and Romanian Sorana Cirstea will play a round robin format which will see a women’s field at the Kooyong event for the first time since 1993 – and the first time ever on the Stadium court.
The trio will join Australian Bernard Tomic, 2016 Kooyong champion and world number 12 David Goffin of Belgium, and long-time top tenner Richard Gasquet of France – the first three male players confirmed in the prestigious pre-Australian Open event.
The Priceline Pharmacy Kooyong Classic will be held from Tuesday 10 January to Friday 13 January 2017 at the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club.
The women’s event will coincide with the Priceline Sisterhood Foundation Women’s Day on Wednesday 11 January and will feature the first women’s matches at the 2017 event. The day is part of the reinvigoration of what is an important part of the Australian summer of tennis.
The Croatian-born Tomljanovic is making a return to tennis after undergoing shoulder surgery earlier this year. With a career high ranking of 47, the 23-year-old hasn’t played since the Australian Open in January but has her eyes set on Kooyong as part of her lead in to next year’s Open.
“I am really looking forward to participating in the Kooyong Classic. I’ve heard so many great things about the event and it would be such a pleasure to step on the court in Australia for the first time in a year and play in front of great Australian fans. I can’t wait,” Tomljanovic said.
Lisicki is a former Wimbledon finalist who has collected four WTA singles titles in a career that has taken her to a career high ranking of World No.12. The 27-year-old defeated Sam Stosur in the Wimbledon second round this year and will hope to use Kooyong as a stepping stone to a return to her best Australian Open form, a fourth round spot in 2012.
“I was excited to hear that they were adding a women’s field to this year’s Kooyong Classic,” Lisicki said.
“I had heard a lot of good things about the event for the guys over the past years and am hoping it helps me prepare well for the Australian Open. I’m also looking forward to playing at the Kooyong Club which has such a great tennis history.”
26-year-old Cirstea is the top ranked of the three, at World No.81. A former French Open quarter finalist and with a career high ranking of World No.22, the Romanian will be looking forward to a return to the Australian Open after missing this year’s tournament.
Tournament director Peter Johnston said the introduction of the women’s event was a logical step and fills a much needed void in the pre-Australian Open player preparations. Johnston recently returned from managing the WTA Elite Trophy final in Zhuhai, China, where players and coaches expressed an appetite for the Kooyong event.
“Women’s matches have only been played once in the history of the Kooyong Classic event and that was when they played a minor event on grass on the outside courts one year in the ’90s,” Johnston said. “The feedback from the players and coaches was clear that the appetite is there for matches at Kooyong like the men currently have.”
“So it’s a great option for the players, and there’s no doubt that from an event presentation point of view, the inclusion of women into the field will broaden the appeal,” Johnston added.
The 2017 Priceline Pharmacy Kooyong Classic is proudly supported by principal partner, Priceline Pharmacy, with support from Thai Airways, Schweppes, Lanson and Agnew Wines. The Seven Network will broadcast all four days of Kooyong’s action right across Australia.
Tickets are now on sale through Ticketek – www.ticketek.com.au