Artem Sitak has been confirmed to return to defend his national singles title at the Pascoe's New Zealand Tennis Championships in Auckland next month.

The ATP Tour doubles specialist heads a strong field that includes second ranked Kiwi Finn Tearney and leading juniors Finn Reynolds and Ajeet Rai.

The men's and women's singles winners will receive wildcards into qualifying for January's ASB Classic in Auckland.

17-year-old Reynolds reached the Australian Open Junior doubles final in January. The left hander from Hawke's Bay has a current ITF junior ranking of 154. He is starting a college scholarship at the University of Mississippi in January.


18-year-old Rai is New Zealand's top ranked junior at 129 and the defending national junior champion. He started playing internationally as a 10 year old and has represented New Zealand in all major events since. Rai has won 14 ITF Junior singles and doubles titles.

Another player to watch will be 17-year-old Issac Becroft from Wellington. He made the final of the Auckland ITF Indoor Championships in October and was runner up in singles and doubles at the New Caledonia ITF junior tournament in June. Macsen Sisam is another player with a big future in the men's draw.

The 17-year-old beat Becroft in the final of the Auckland ITF indoor Championships last month and has had some good junior success in Asia this year.

Tennis New Zealand's High Performance manager Simon Rea says the 2017 Pascoe's New Zealand Tennis Championships provides a really exciting blend of competitive balance this year.

"There are fully established professionals and Davis Cup and fed Cup representatives in Artem Sitak, Finn Tearney and Jo Carswell. They will chase a National title with vigour and be met with, we hope, some really strong opposition from the next wave of New Zealand's elite tennis talent. I'm sure the event will build towards a really exciting conclusion over the final two days at the ASB Tennis Arena on the 8th and 9th of December," Rea said.

The women's field features a good blend of youth and experience.

16-year-old rising star Elys Ventura is one to watch. She was awarded the Li Na Inspiration award by tournament director Donna Kelso at the WTA Future Stars event in Singapore. Tournament officials said Ventura embodies the spirit of the game both on and off the court, as well as the wonderful qualities that made Li Na well-loved with fans, players and sponsors throughout her career.

Former WTA tour player Sascha Jones has entered and along with Jo Carswell will be strong contenders for the title. 17-year-old Melbourne based Oleksandra Kalachova is another promising talent and recently made the final of the Canberra Junior International.

Notable players not playing this year include Michael Venus who is on a well-deserved break following his remarkable doubles exploits on the ATP Tour, Marcus Daniell who is injured and Kiwi number one Reuben Statham who has been playing a series of ATP challenger tournaments in Asia.

Defending women's champion Jade Lewis is on a training block in the US and will return to New Zealand ahead of the ASB Classic where she hopes to again receive a main draw wildcard. New Zealand number one Marina Erakovic is nursing a back injury but hopes to be fit for the ASB Classic.