The Basset St courts will be pumping this weekend as the Wanganui Tennis Open hosts one of its strongest fields ever.
Newly-appointed Wanganui Tennis Club coach Jono Spring said as usual, the event has attracted a lot of players from around the North Island who use the tournament as a means to "kick-start" their competitive tennis season.
"For many it is positioned perfectly at the start of the spring school holidays, meaning that they can travel from one tournament to another over the course of the holiday break," Spring said.
"Many coaches are using the Wanganui Open this year as an opportunity to get some valuable match practice in at the start of the season, which has led to the creation of a very strong open draw, perhaps the strongest that has ever attended the event in modern times.
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"Several former New Zealand No.1's will be gracing the courts with the men's open headed by current top 10 NZ male Connor Heap. Also playing are No. 25 and No. 26 ranked men Marc Paulik and Jaden Grinter who are also previous New Zealand representatives".
The women's draw will be spearheaded by Whanganui tennis coach and former New Zealand No.1 age group player, Leela Beattie. Widely regarded as one of New Zealand's strongest female players of recent times, Beattie is currently ranked at No. 5 in New Zealand and is the highest ranked non-professional player in the country.
As a novel inclusion in the tournament, Beattie will be playing in the men's open doubles draw with Grinter.
"Because of the typically good attendance, both junior and senior tennis players know that they will encounter decent opposition in relatively strong draws.
"The 10 and 14 age groups will begin from Saturday, along with the senior open events, and carry on throughout the weekend. The remaining 12 and 16 age groups will be played on Monday and Tuesday," Spring said.