Melbourne, 26 November 2010 |

The summer of tennis is set to heat up as Australia’s future tennis stars make their mark in Melbourne at the third December Showdown from Friday 26 November.

December Showdown is the curtain-raiser for the tennis season in Australia and brings together the best players in each age group for a three-week carnival at Melbourne Park, home of the Australian Open.

The event will feature more than 2500 matches and give junior players the chance to pit themselves against each other to achieve vital ranking points, before concluding with the highly-anticipated Australian Open Play-off on Tuesday 14 December.

The Australian Open Play-off offers homegrown talent the exciting opportunity to play against the world’s best at the Australian Open, with the last man and woman standing receiving a wildcard into the Grand Slam tournament in January.

Tennis Australia’s Director of Tennis Craig Tiley expects this year’s December Showdown and Australian Open Play-off could be the toughest competition in years.

“The competition is sure to be fierce as the country’s next crop of tennis stars battle for several prized wildcards into AO Series events.”

“Our junior players have shown a strong improvement and with a place in next year’s Australian Open up for grabs, this year’s play-off promises to be one of the best.”

Past winners of the Australian Open Play-off include Alicia Molik (SA), Jelena Dokic (NSW) and Colin Ebelthite of South Australia.

“The play-off is renowned for its exhilarating matches and memorable moments, so we expect fans to be out in full force as some of Australia’s emerging tennis stars compete for a place in their home Grand Slam tournament.”

December Showdown will host a number of tournaments including the Optus Australian Championships for 12/u, 14/u, 16/u and 18/u age groups, as well as the Australian Open Play-off and a celebrity ProAm tournament to launch the event on Saturday 4 December.

The winners of the Optus 18s Australian Championships will be granted a wildcard entry into the qualifying draw of Australian Open 2011 and main draw of the Australian Open Play-off, while the winners of the Optus 16s Australian Championships will receive a wildcard entry into the main draws of the Australian Open Junior Championships and Loy Yang Traralgon Junior ITF International in 2011.