New events: NZ’s biggest summer of tennis

Monday, 11 September 2023

Top-level tennis events across December and January will give New Zealand its biggest summer of tennis yet and provide Kiwi pro players with more opportunities to play in front of home crowds.

Events on the calendar include the prestigious Wellington Open, two ITF World Tennis Tour pro events in Wellington and Tauranga, and the Te Anau Tennis Invitational, with this jam-packed summer of professional tennis then culminating in the ASB Classic in Auckland in early January.

The Wellington Open will be the summer starter, running from 6-9 December at the Renouf Tennis Centre in the capital.

This will be followed by the ITF World Tennis Tour: Wellington event in the same location from 10-16 December.

The EVES Open – ITF World Tennis Tour: Tauranga will then be held from 17-23 December in Pāpāmoa on the Bay of Plenty coast.

The Te Anau Tennis Invitational is also back from 28-29 December and this year will include an official ASB Classic Wild Card Play-off for New Zealand’s best male players.

A women’s ASB Classic Wild Card Play-off will also be held at ASB Tennis Centre in Auckland from 26-27 December.

These events are expected to draw New Zealand’s best and brightest tennis talent, as well as a strong international contingent, and will provide a valuable launch-pad for emerging Kiwi players.

The two ITF World Tennis Tour fixtures are professional events for men and women with official ATP and WTA world ranking points and a combined total prize pool of US$70,000.

Tennis New Zealand Chief Executive Julie Paterson said the country’s top players always relish the rare chance to compete in front of a home crowd.

“It’s great to have so many professional level events on the calendar this December and January,” Paterson said.

“Investing in bringing the ITF World Tennis Tour back to New Zealand is already paying off, with more ATP and WTA ranked players than we’ve had in many years.”

New Zealand doubles specialist Erin Routliffe won the women’s doubles at the EVES Open in Tauranga last year with fellow Kiwi Paige Hourigan.

Not even a year later, Routliffe has just won her first Grand Slam title at the US Open in New York with Canadian doubles partner Gaby Dabrowski.

Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Ajeet Rai won the men’s singles title at last year’s ITF World Tennis Tour: Wellington and went on to play at the ASB Classic and Davis Cup.  

As did fellow Kiwi Kiranpal Pannu, who won the men’s singles title at last year’s EVES Open, launching a successful summer of tennis.  

In a major career breakthrough, teenage star Vivian Yang also won the women’s singles title in Wellington last year, and Finn Reynolds and Jack Loutit won the men’s doubles titles with their international partners in Wellington and Tauranga respectively.  

“We look forward to seeing the rankings of our players continue to improve through the events in Wellington and Tauranga this year,” Paterson said.  

“The Wellington Open as well is a true highlight for tennis in the region and players love taking part.”  

Flo Perret, Events and Operations Manager at Tennis Central Region, said the Wellington Open “is always an exciting event that not only Tennis Central looks forward to but also the whole Wellington tennis community”.   

“Over the last few seasons, this event has got bigger and better every year, now having the support of numerous sponsors and also the support of all the top New Zealand players who come to compete in a unique environment and have the rare opportunity to play in front of over 600 spectators on home courts.”  

Perret said the Wellington Open is also a great pathway for top Kiwi juniors, who get the chance to compete against experienced pro tour players.  

He said it was brilliant to have the professional ITF World Tennis Tour event back in the capital as well.  

“Central is lucky to have quite a few players competing at this level and it is always a treat for Wellingtonians to see our very own Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup players performing on the international scene at the Renouf Tennis Centre.”  

The EVES Open – ITF World Tennis Tour: Tauranga will again be held on the sky-blue hard courts of Pāpāmoa Tennis Club, at the Venture Developments WBOP Tennis Centre in Gordon Spratt Reserve.  

Pāpāmoa Tennis Club President Gerald Greig said last year’s EVES Open saw large crowds every day of the week in the lead up to Christmas, with fans young and old sitting on the grass banks under pōhutukawa trees watching high-quality tennis action.  

Greig said the event resulted in “nothing but rave reviews, just complete over-the-top rave reviews”.  

“All of our local juniors had the opportunity to play out on the astro courts with some of the visiting pros last year. They’re excited. Everybody’s really, really excited.”

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