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- Edberg to present Australian Open trophy
- 01.02.2015 - 01.02.2015
- Melbourne Park - Melbourne
- Tournaments and exhibitions
from Canberra Times.com.au
by Linda Pearce
If the planets align for Roger Federer at Melbourne Park for a remarkable fifth time in January, the presentation ceremony could prove to be a rather cosy affair. The winner of the men's singles final will receive the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup from Stefan Edberg, Federer's co-coach since the start of last season.
Twenty-nine years after Edberg won the first of his two Australian Opens, the admired Swede will return to share presenting duties with the great Martina Navratilova, who will hand the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup to Li Na's successor as the women's champion the previous night.
Stefan Edberg lifting his first Australian Open trophy after the 1985 final against Mats WIlander
Edberg has been credited with helping to bring a more attacking edge to Federer's game; his greater willingness to serve-volley evident during a Wimbledon run ended only narrowly by Novak Djokovic in a brilliant five-set final – Federer's 25th at grand slam level, and his eighth as a runner-up.
The 33-year-old has returned to No.2 in the rankings after reaching two other major semi-finals – at the Australian and US opens – and winning the three most recent of his 80 career titles. Edberg continues to work in tandem with Severin Luthi, the Swiss Davis Cup coach.
As a player, the cool net-rusher won six major titles from 11 finals, five of them in Melbourne. Only the French Open eluded Edberg, who spent a decade in the top 10 and nine years in the top five, and was ranked No.1 in both singles and doubles before retiring at the end of 1996.
Navratilova was an even more enduring star of the women's game, claiming 18 singles majors, including nine Wimbledons. With her great rival Chris Evert, Navratilova presented the US Open trophy last month to Serena Williams, who will start as the title favourite again in Australia, where she has already won five times. Li retired from the sport last month due to injury.
Other than the annual announcement of record prizemoney, Tuesday's launch of the 2015 tournament will also confirm wheelchair champion David Hall as the 37th inductee into the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame.
The newly-redeveloped Margaret Court Arena, complete with the facility's third retractable roof, will be ticketed for the first time, at $60 for each day and night session for the first eight days. Ground pass holders will now be able to access Hisense Arena instead, and also to purchase a new $129 two-day family ground pass for the popular middle weekend.
Tickets for the men's and women's finals have risen by only $1 to $290 and $390 for the men's and women's deciders respectively.
You can purchase tickets for the men's final and the trophy ceremony on the Australian Open website.