Pro qualifying was held today (Saturday...it was over by lunch!!!) for the US$25,000 women’s tennis ITF and US$15,000 men’s Futures at the Renouf Tennis Centre in Wellington.The field for both men and Women are filtered with players trying to break into the big time of the ATP and WTA tours.Some will be destined to travel the world competing in more tournaments such as these chasing their dream or in a lot of cases their parents dream.Jamila Groth from Australia heads the womens field and is 46 in the world.Must be a good reason why this player has entered such an ordinary field , I can't think of any at the moment.Next on the List is Sally Peers also from Australia at 157 and I wont be holding my breath until she breaks the top 100.Kiwi Sacha Jones gains a direct entry as a result of her ranking of 268. She may be one of the seeded players in the main draw, for me the only interest is if she draws Kiwi teenagers, Katherine Westbury who has a WTA ranking of 771, Emily Fanning, Chelsea Te Tai and Leela Beattie.I have to ask how does Te Tai get a wild card,has been based in Australia for years ,one of the most
traveled players out there for no results. An absolute waste of a wildcard!.Sorry I digressed back to the reason why it would be great to see a match up of Jones and the wildcards... it will be interesting to see how these players match up to an experienced Kiwi.
To make it on the womens circuit these Wildcards need to step up and its this type of tournament that will show if they can, its like a Christmas present come early to be in the Main draw and maybe I sound like Scrooge but at some time we have to face facts where we are really going with tennis.
The qualifying was very poor with players going straight into the draw or just winning one match this was the fact in both Men and Womens events.
Most of the the Wildcards are Juniors and most of them have not won a high level Grade 1 ITF junior event, the experience will be great, but is it deserving?
Its much the same in the mens draw , less prize money on offer here and the top seed is Brydan Klein 247 from Australia, he might keep the umpires on their toes this tournament .
In the men’s Futures, Michael Venus and Rubin Statham start the Kiwi line up. Marvin Barker andSebastian Lavie moved into main draw directly yesterday with some last minute withdrawals from the main draw acceptance list. This gave TNZ two further wildcards for the tournament. Juniors Adam Lee and Jaden Grinter were awarded the wildcards along with Anton Bettink and Adam Staub as the fourth wildcard.
Kiwi Adam Thompson received a bye in the qualifying to move directly into the main draw, along with Martin Colenbrander and local junior Olly Sadler after their opponents were moved into main draw automatically.
Local Warwick Foy and Auckland's Stefan Williams won their qualifying matches today to move into the main draw.
Again interest for me is how these players shape up against the younger Aussie such as Ben Mitchell and James Duckworth. With no offense the Mens event is a little thin and if the draw is kind a New Zealander could go far, and that person could be Michael Venus.
Looking forward to First round action next week and at some stage no doubt will give a few comments.