Melbourne, Australia, 7 February 2013 | Tennis Australia

The nation’s top emerging tennis stars will return to Melbourne Park next week for the Melbourne Park Tennis International (9-17 February 2013).

The $15,000 ITF Futures event will feature a strong line-up of local and international competitors, including Australian Open 2013 competitors Luke Saville (Barmera, SA), James Duckworth (Gordon, NSW) and Ben Mitchell (Worongary, Qld).

Tournament Director Jason Simmons said the field was shaping up to be one of the strongest on the Australian Pro Tour circuit this year.

“We’re very excited by the calibre of the field for next week’s Melbourne Park Tennis International,” he said.

“Luke Saville, James Duckworth and Ben Mitchell, who all contested the main draw of Australian Open 2013 last month, will return to Melbourne Park and will be three of the toughest competitors in the draw.”

Two-time junior Grand Slam winner Saville has climbed more than 800 places to world No. 340 in the past 12 months, and will be looking to continue his rise up the rankings with a strong showing in Melbourne next week.

Duckworth and Mitchell will return to Melbourne Park four weeks on from their epic first round clash at Australian Open 2013, where Duckworth posted a thrilling 6-4 7-6(8) 4-6 5-7 8-6 win in just under five hours on court, before going down to Blaz Kavcic (SLO) in a second five-set thriller in the following round.

The trio will be joined by some of the country’s leading tennis talent.

“Other Australians to watch will include big-serving local hope Sam Groth (Templestowe, Vic) and a strong contingent of players set to arrive in Melbourne straight from this week’s ATP Challenger event at West Lakes in South Australia, including Matt Reid (Dural, NSW), Greg Jones (Manly, NSW) and Adam Feeney (Tumbi Umbi, NSW),” Simmons said.

“The international charge will be led by world No. 178 Peter Polansky (CAN), Christopher Rungkat (INA) and Stephane Robert (FRA).“

Qualifying for the tournament begins on Saturday, with main draw action to commence Tuesday 12 February. Entry is free for spectators.

Melbourne Park Tennis International is part of the 2013 Australian Pro Tour, a series of professional tennis tournaments that bridge junior events and the ATP/WTA Tours, providing players with the opportunity to earn their first world ranking points.