The current Mens and Women's Challenger events held in Wellington this week was disappointing for local players .Leela Beattie was unlucky to draw Elitsa Kotsova the 6th seed from Bulgaria in the first round going down in a tough three setter and was probably the best performed amongst the other Kiwi entrants.Leela needs to maintain her consistency and must perform in every round and this will be needed to succeed as she takes on Challenger events in Australia.Apart From top seed Jarmila Groth the field was as pedestrian as you would find in a challenger event. The qualifying was really a non event and New Zealand players will have to earn their way to main draws at upcoming Australian events and not have the privilege of Wild cards.
The men's event was a disaster for Kiwi players,James Duckworth an 18 year old from Australia with an ATP ranking of around 900 decimated the New Zealand Davis Cup team defeating Michael Venus in the second round and 5th seed Russian soon to be Kiwi Artem Sitak in the quarter finals.Three Aussies and one German make up the semi's to be played today.
Whilst its nice to give locals a break with Wild cards , I think players need to earn a shot and not just be handed "gifts". I would like to see a Wild card tournaments played prior to an event such as this and make these youngsters earn their way.Tennis is a tough sport and those that are handed everything may eventually be found out.Plenty of wealthy parents fund opportunities and many juniors without access to funding miss the boat.We need the European mentality where you have to fight your way to success and until we install this way of thinking.Life is just too easy this side of the world.!
Just 12 men competed in the qualifying events in Wellington and 12 in the Ladies event! In fact if i had turned up to enter I probably would of made the qualifying draw! The size of qualifying was a 16 draw mens and women.