ITF World Tennis Tour: Wellington underway
The first pro tennis event of the Kiwi summer is underway in Wellington, with players from Australia, the United States, Europe, and Asia taking on some of New Zealand's best.
The ITF World Tennis Tour: Wellington event is a professional tournament for men and women being held at the Renouf Tennis Centre in the capital, which last week played host to the Armstrong’s Wellington Open.
Some of New Zealand's brightest tennis talent was on show at the Wellington Open and many of those players will be back on court this week, playing for official WTA and ATP world ranking points and a combined prize pool of US$30,000.
Rising star Renee Zhang won the Wellington Open women's singles title on Saturday, just days after becoming the New Zealand under-18 national girls singles champion. The 17-year-old also won the under-18 national girls doubles title with Maria Galatescu at the National Junior Championships in Christchurch last week.
Zhang will be playing in the World Tennis Tour: Wellington (W15) event, along with Aishi Das and Sofia Shing, who won the women’s doubles title at the Wellington Open on Saturday.
Monique Barry, Jade Otway, Elyse Tse, and Maria Galatescu are among the other New Zealanders in action this week.
In the men's World Tennis Tour: Wellington (M15) event, the number one seed is New Zealand's Ajeet Rai, who will be looking to continue his good run of form and add to his growing list of 2023 titles.
Competition will be fierce this week, however, with fellow Kiwi pro Kiranpal (KP) Pannu returning home from the United States and winning the men's singles at the Wellington Open on Saturday, securing back to back titles on his home court.
Then you have James Watt, who not only played in the men's singles final at the Wellington Open but also won the men's doubles title on the same day with Finley Hall.
To win that match, they had to overcome the big-name New Zealand pairing of Marcus Daniell, who is back from injury, and Finn Reynolds.
Daniell and Reynolds will be back on court as a team this week in the World Tennis Tour: Wellington event.
Pannu and Watt and Hall will also be playing, alongside a long list of top New Zealand talent including Isaac Becroft, Alexander Klintcharov, Jack Loutit, and Corban Crowther.