Alice Springs, 31 August 2012 |

Former world No.220 Sam Groth will travel to Central Australia next week to compete at the third annual Alice Springs Tennis International to be held in the Northern Territory from 2 to 9 September 2012.

The talented 24-year-old, who unofficially hit the fastest serve (263 kph) at a Challenger event in South Korea in May, is sure to make waves in the men’s draw where he is expected to be the top seed.

“I’ve had a pretty good year so far, I’ve only really played three or four tournaments in Australia so I’m looking forward to playing my first one in a while,” Groth said.

Having already won two Futures titles this year and making the final of a Challenger event in Burnie, Groth is hoping to add to his triumphs.

“For me it’s a really good chance to go and hopefully walk away with a couple of titles from these next few tournaments and push my ranking back towards my career high and get inside the 200s,” Groth added.

“I’ve been pretty consistent with my performances and I’m just going to go and keep trying to put my best foot forward every time I walk on court.”

Michael Look, the 2011 champion, will also be back to defend his title after he dismissed fellow Queenslander Benjamin Mitchell in straight sets last year to win his first ever Australian Pro Tour title.

Joining Groth and Look will be 2011 Junior Wimbledon and 2012 Australian Open Junior champion Luke Saville, James Lemke and Matthew Barton plus a group of international players including three of  Japan’s top 30 players, Kento Takeuchi, Gengo Kikuchi and Yusuke Watanuki and New Zealand’sMichael Venus.

A host of junior talent is also set to compete for the USD$15,000 prize purse with AIS Pro Tour scholarship holders Alex Bolt and Andrew Whittington likely to compete as well as National Academy SA member Thanasi Kokkinakis.

Tennis Alice Springs Manager Matt Roberts is looking forward to hosting the tournament for another year and is excited by the prospects the event brings.

“This is definitely the biggest thing that happens to us each year. We’re a club that can host these sort of events and mix it with the big clubs in Australia,” Roberts said.

“People visit our tennis club who would never walk in. We’ve had people start playing socially and we’ve had people sign up for private lessons just by being around and watching.”

Roberts also highlights the community’s involvement with a large local contingent also vying for a spot in the main draw.

“We’ve got seven players who’ve signed up to be in the qualifying draw, it’s the first time we’ve had anyone from Alice Springs in the draw,” Roberts continued.

The men’s tournament is a free event for the public. Qualifying will begin on Sunday with the main draw commencing next Tuesday.

> View draws and the order of play