Jaguar Race to the ASB Classic
A new junior tennis tournament has been created that will see nine regional events source top tennis stars who will have the ability to play centre-court at the ASB Classic.
Jaguar and Lavie Tennis Academy have partnered ahead of ASB Classic 2023 where players compete to win The Jaguar Cup – designed to show young tennis stars what it takes to compete at the top and inspire them to continue their careers on home soil.
The Road to the ASB Classic involves a series of tournaments around the country for tennis players under the age of 14 to compete for a place in the 32-player main draw, which will be played on the courts at ASB Classic in January 2023.
The initiative has been designed to improve the breadth and depth of tennis talent – as it’s been over a century since New Zealand had a tennis player in the top 10 world ranking, with the closest player, Chris Lewis, reaching #19 almost three decades ago.
In previous years, many players with dual citizenships have headed overseas and take up opportunities to compete on the world stage for the likes of Team GB, Australia, and Japan, however this tournament series aims to change that pattern.
New Zealand’s former #1 women’s tennis player and two-times Olympic athlete, Marina Erakovic, who also reached a career-high of #39 in the Women’s Tennis Association rankings, says this initiative will open doors for young tennis players, which she hopes will inspire them to keep training, and make the most of every opportunity in Aotearoa to reach world titles.
“This is an incredible opportunity for our young players to experience the atmosphere of a professional event. It has been many years since home-grown talent has had singles success at the ASB Classic. I believe that by stepping out onto centre court, playing in front of a large crowd, and rubbing shoulders with top players, it will inspire our youngsters to chase their dreams and build confidence that they can also reach top levels in tennis. This is an amazing initiative from the Lavie Tennis Academy and Jaguar as they help to future proof tennis in New Zealand.”
Sebastian Lavie, founder and owner of Lavie Tennis Academy is aiming to inspire young players from clubs around the country, give them a taste of what national and international competitions are like, and celebrate all players involved.
“We’re excited to give these future tennis stars an incredible opportunity to perform at ASB Classic. Not only will it give them a better understanding of tournament processes, but also give them a taste of what it’s like to compete on the world stage.”
Proud to support New Zealand’s next generation of tennis professionals, Steve Kenchington CEO of Jaguar Land Rover adds:
“This is an excellent way to encourage kids from clubs all around the country to train hard, aim high and ultimately celebrate their achievements with like-minded peers. We hope the series empowers many children, and maybe we’ll find our next top 100 players this summer!”
The new tournament will run throughout November, with a series of competitions for kids around the country from Dunedin to North Shore Auckland. The events will whittle down the best players, giving 32 young enthusiasts the chance to compete at ASB Classic for the very first time.
Each of the 32 kids will compete in four matches during ASB Classic, with hundreds of spectators able to watch, culminating in live finals on Centre Court ahead of the ASB Classic Men’s Final on Saturday 14 January.