Final Olympic venue ready for action

Sydney's main Olympic precinct at Homebush Bay was completed today with the official opening of the tennis courts for next year's Games.

Sydney's main Olympic precinct at Homebush Bay was completed today with the official opening of the tennis courts for next year's Games.

The 38.8 million Australian dollars (24.4 million U.S. dlrs) venue was the last permanent sports ground to be completed at Homebush and was finished 10 months out from the September 16 opening ceremony.

Australian tennis greats Evonne Goolagong-Cawley and Ken Rosewall had show courts named after them. The major road at the venue was called Rod Laver Drive after the Australian named as the best male player of the century in a poll conducted by The Associated Press this week.

Goolagong-Cawley and rising star Jelena Dokic, who beat Martina Hingis at Wimbledon this year, christened the center court with the first rally today.

Davis Cup captain John Newcombe was also on hand for the official unveiling of the 16-court complex that has replaced White City as the major tennis venue in Sydney after 76 years.

It will host the adidas International next month in an official Olympic test event. The center court holds 10,000 people.

"This will become one of the best stadiums in the world," Newcombe said.

"There will be some fantastic moments and history will be written here over the next century. The ghosts of champions who have passed away will be floating around the courts, that's the way I think of all the great stadiums."

Grouped around the main court are two show courts with planned seating for a combined 3,000 people, seven other match courts and six practice courts.

Another 11 courts will be built after the Paralympics, which follow the Olympics.

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