Top seed and local favourite Ben Grindrod heads a strong field at the Tauranga Open under way at Devoy Squash & Fitness Centre.

The Tauranga club's biggest annual tournament has attracted 180 entries from juniors through to the elite. World No4 and New Zealand's top women's player Joelle King is a big drawcard for the event and takes on local stalwart BJ McKenzie in the first round tonight.

"Joelle is gearing up for the Commonwealth Games so having a top line up of players and tough match play is really important for her preparations," said president Char Niles.

The top draw also sees the likes of Michael Pittams (Eden Epsom), Paul Bedford (Geyser City), Matiu Te Kani-McQueen (Herne Bay), Ben Thornton (Cambridge), Stephen Hurley (Tauranga) and the club's talented brothers, Josh and Jamie Oakley, competing for first round wins.


Robbie Wyatt (Tauranga), coach of the world junior boys' teams and coach of former world No1 Leilani Joyce, also joins the strong field.

"The tournament has also attracted a contingent of players from the USA which is exciting," Niles said.

The tournament runs through today and the weekend with finals scheduled for 3.20pm on Sunday.

For tournament draws and info: