New Zealand tennis No.1 Finn Tearney has just returned home after his first experience with Davis Cup tennis and although the Kiwi team lost to South Korea in Seoul he says what he learned was invaluable.
Tearney, aged 25 and currently ranked 389 in the world, one place ahead of fellow Davis Cup team member Rubin Statham, is playing the MinterEllisonRuddWatts Wellington Tennis Open this weekend at the Renouf Centre before returning to the professional tennis circuit for tournaments in Asia.
Tearney says Davis Cup was eye opening and something to inspire him for the future, despite the fact there was initially snow on the courts then, sunshine, then rain and eventually a 3-1 loss.
"It was a cool experience, being around the guys and seeing how you are treated. I really enjoyed it. It's definitely something I'd like to do again. It's a shame we lost, it was a tough battle. It's a shame I didn't play but that's the way it goes," said Tearney who also took note of one of the opposition players, Hyeon Chung who is ranked around 60 in the world. "It's good to be exposed to players like that. It's beneficial for my game. Obviously he's a pretty good player. Technical wise I don't think there was anything special just his ability to focus and play point after point consistency was good stuff to watch."
Meanwhile Tearney is keen to win his third tournament in Wellington in a row, especially since the Renouf Centre was one of the places he grew up playing matches on as a junior.
"It will be nice to be on home courts in front of family and friends. There's some good players in the tournament, especially with Rubin (Statham) and others too. Hopefully I can take the title again."
With Tearney and Statham in the tournament there's a likely No.1 versus No.2 in the final however others such as Alex Klintcharov from North Harbour who has ATP ranking points, Canterbury's national 18's champion Connor Heap, talented Hawkes Bay brothers Rob and Finn Reynolds, Rhett Purcell who was a semifinalist at the NZ tennis champs in Auckland in December and has previously played for Britain at junior Wimbledon will make the draw interesting.
The women's singles has two big-name players in NZ tennis champs winner and national junior champion, Rosie Cheng from North Harbour, while Leela Beattie will be wanting to defend her crown. Beattie who has been playing Regional One interclub for Paraparaumu Beach Tennis Club will have to be on her game if she clashes with Cheng. The tall teenager from North Harbour was a 6-3 6-3 winner over Beattie when they last met in the semis at the NZ Champs.
Corporate tables for the final on Sunday have sold out, however entry is free over the three days of the tournament.
The early rounds of the tournament start Friday, continuing on Saturday with semis and finals on Sunday. Total tournament prize money is $9,000.