Brisbane International Promises a Stellar Field December 13, 2014

The Brisbane International, which starts off on January 5, promises to be more exciting than the previous years. This tennis tournament, which has been part of the ATP Tour during the last four decades, has a chaotic history.

From 1977 to 1985, the Australian Open was held during the month of December. It was the end of the year, when the players would look forward to their holiday. There was a date change in 1987, moving the tournament to January. The schedule of the Brisbane International was changed too. It would become a warm-up event to Australian Open. Past champions included Mark Woodforde, Jim Courier, and Tim Henman. Roger Federer's entry last year was his first, generating lots of publicity.

Lleyton Hewitt defeated Federer in last year's finals, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3. It would be the third title for Hewitt, making him the most winning player on the men's side. It would also be the Aussie's first win over the Swiss in years. As for Federer, this would be a good sign. (He reached the finals of nine more tournaments.)

Federer and Hewitt will return to Brisbane next year. It remains to be seen if they'll meet again in the finals, as Kei Nishikori, Milos Raonic, and Marin ÄŒilić confirm their participation. The trio, along with Federer, competed in the ATP World Tour Finals in London last month. The tournament will mark the return of Juan Martín del Potro. He was sidelined for most of 2014 after a surgery on his left wrist. The winner of the 2009 US Open would use a protective ranking to gain entry into the main draw.

A new format of tennis

Federer and Hewitt will play an exhibition match in Sydney the following week. It's a shortened version of a game developed by Tennis Australia. There'll be no advantage scoring, no lets. Tiebreaker will be at three games all, and the winner goes to the player with first four games win.

“The new format is a game changer and is set to revolutionise the game of tennis, particularly at club and social levels. Time today is precious and this new fast format is perfect for any player who wants to fit their tennis matches into a busy lifestyle," said Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley.

The outcome of the match may not prompt Team Australia to use this new version for the 111th edition of the Australian Open (and onwards), but don't be surprised if this will be introduced in Flinders Park soon. After all, the organisers are doing their utmost best to make this major event attractive. The Australian Open was introduced as the Grand Slam of Asia/Pacific. The next tag would be introduced soon.

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