STARNBERG, December 28, 2019
New Zealand is returning to the Pro Circuit calendar after a seven-year hiatus with the ITF World Tennis Tour M15 Te Anau event, kicking off the new season on 30 December 2019. Billed as the ‘World’s most southerly professional tour tournament’, the Te Anau hard-court tournament has grown out of an invitational event at the lakeside tennis club, hosted by a passionate tennis community in the town.
Te Anau is a town in the Southland region of the South Island of New Zealand. It is on the eastern shore of Lake Te Anau in Fiordland. Lake Te Anau is the largest lake in the South Island and within New Zealand second only to Lake Taupo. The town is also used as a base for those undertaking the Milford Track and the Kepler Track, the latter being a four-day loop from Te Anau. Visitors to the area also partake in activities such as kayaking, cycling, jet boat riding, fishing and hunting, farm tours and seaplane or helicopter sightseeing.
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“It is fantastic to be able to announce our first World Tennis Tour Professional events here in New Zealand. Without these events, the pathway to full-time professional tennis is so much harder for talented Kiwis. Having the chance to provide wildcards to our players gives them a chance to earn crucial rankings points on home soil. It’s an advantage players from most developed tennis countries enjoy and it’s great we can now start to level the playing field,” said Tennis New Zealand High Performance Director Simon Rea, quoted on tennis NZ.
“For a long time now, the ASB Classic has been our sole professional tour event. It’s an amazing event, consistently bringing the world’s best to New Zealand, but unfortunately Kiwi involvement in singles has been sparse. We now have the opportunity to increase playing opportunities at home for the next tier of young New Zealand professionals. We want to give them every chance to grow as pros and hopefully progress to the level where they are playing and winning on the ASB Classic stage,” said Tennis New Zealand CEO Julie Paterson.
“Initially we have invested over $100,000 to get World Tennis Tour professional tennis off the ground here in NZ, with an aim to host at least four events in the 2020 calendar year. We’re intentionally seeking to work with hosts in regional cities and towns and have been really pleased with enthusiasm and support offered already. These events are not cheap and local financial support alongside Tennis New Zealand’s investment is critical to their sustainability,” said Paterson.
The entry list is led by World No. 218 Elliot Benchetrit of France and Shuichi Sekiguchi of Japan, who is currently ranked World No. 264. Australia’s Luke Saville and Italian teenager Lorenzo Musetti are also part of the line-up. World No. 805 Finn Turney will be the highest ranked player from New Zealand.