Perth welcomes back Asia Pacific Tennis League action
Western Australian Matthew Ebden headlines the Asia Pacific Tennis League action at Perth's State Tennis Centre on Sunday.
The Asia Pacific Tennis League returns to Perth’s State Tennis Centre on Sunday, with Western Australia’s Western Wildlings set to take on teams from South Australia and Tasmania in a round of adrenalin-charged Fast4 team tennis, featuring some of the nation’s top players.
The ATL forms part of a wider 2015 Festival of Tennis, featuring the 20 year birthday celebrations for the State Tennis Centre.
In 2015 the revamped ATL comprises 16 men’s and 16 women’s teams competing across two conferences: North and South. Teams compete for a share of $40,000 in the conference rounds, with winners and runners-up to battle it out alongside teams from throughout Asia-Pacific in the ATL Play-offs at Australian Open 2016, where a prize purse of $150,000 is on the line.
Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania form Pool B of the South Conference, with all teams vying for a top two finish. These positions will ultimately be decided on Sunday at the ATL Perth Super Rounds, commencing at 9am.
Western Wildlings men’s team have put forward one of the strongest Western Australian fields in the event’s history, with world No.107 Matthew Ebden headlining.
Ebden has made a strong comeback in recent months, leaping 20 places to verge on the top 100 since his win at the Traralgon Challenger in November. Ebden will be joined by fellow Western Australian compatriots Zach Itzstein, Alex Chijoff-Evans, Scott Jones, Joel Pleydell and Brenton Bacon who last weekend managed to fight off a formidable Tasmanian line-up in round one of the South Australian Super Round.
In round two the Wildlings men fought hard but eventually went down by two sets to South Australia’s NETA Knights, but made a comeback in round three to take down South Australia’s The Drive. Home-grown Western Australian player Jones was a standout, going through all three rounds undefeated in singles.
The second-placed Western Wildlings men will look to seize the number one spot on the ladder this weekend. However standing in their way will be some difficult competition from The Drive, a constant figure in the ATL since the competition’s inception and featuring a strong line-up including Japanese youngster Yuya Ito and Queenslander Ryan Agar. The number one placed NETA Knights also features some great depth with Brad Mousley, Darren Polkinghorne and Damian Farinola.
In the women’s event, the Western Wildlings ladies team are the favourites in Pool B, and are set to capitalise on their youth and depth with world No. 132 Jessica Moore leading the charge.
Moore was too good at number one singles last weekend, leading the Wildlings to victory in round one of the South Australian Super Round, with a straight sets win over Catherine Kruger (TAS) 4-0, 4-3.
Standing alongside Moore in the bid for hometown glory, is Western Australian young gun Maddison Inglis and former top 200 player Bojana Bobusic.
Moore and Inglis combined to form a formidable duo in the doubles, taking down Tasmanian pair Sanyukta Singh and Gabriela Sprague 4-0, 4-0 in round one and SA’s Prospect Flames partnership Jennifer Elie and Olivia Ley in round two 4-0, 4-1.
The Western Wildlings women will be determined to rise from second place to top spot on the ladder after winning two out of the three rounds at the South Australian Super Round. The inclusion of local star Bobusic will be a huge boost for the team and is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Both South Australia and Tasmania will not go down without a fight. South Australia’s Prospect Flames currently sit at top spot. Despite being new entries to the ATL, the Flames have an impressive line-up headlined by American Elie who has a career high singles ranking of 286.
The Tasmanian Devils and Kensington Wildcats are also new to the competition and have both assembled imposing teams featuring both international and local players.
The final round of this conference is set to be hotly contested this weekend, with the most powerful team ever from the West ready to begin battle for the ATL throne.
Entry to the ATL Perth Super Round is free and all spectators are encouraged to come along to the State Tennis Centre on Sunday 29 November to watch some of Australia’s best players in action and celebrate 20 years of tennis at the State Tennis Centre.
There will be a large community festival at the venue with a DJ, food trucks, and plenty of kid’s activities, including bouncy castles, mini tennis, photobooths, face painting, animal farms and the Hopman Cup trophy. The best 10-and-under players in the state will also be battling it out at the Super 10s Final taking place between the ATL rounds.