Alice Springs, Australia, 20 September 2013 | Tennis Australia

Defending champion Matthew Barton (NSW) will travel to central Australia next week to compete at the fourth Alice Springs Tennis International, proudly sponsored by the Northern Territory Government, on 22-29 September 2013.

The talented 21-year-old, who recently played qualifying at the US Open, will be returning to Alice Springs with fond memories of his first ITF Futures title 12 months ago where he defeated Sam Groth in the final.

Barton has since gone on to claim his first ATP Challenger title in Adelaide as well as recording semifinal and quarterfinal appearances in Burnie and Sydney respectively earlier in 2013.

Local tennis fans will have the opportunity to attend the free event and watch Barton and a crop of up-and-coming tennis stars from around Australia and the world compete for USD$15,000 in prize money and valuable world ranking points.

Adam Feeney (NSW), who recently won his sixth singles Futures title at the Hutchinson Builders Toowoomba Men’s International last week, will be leading the Australian charge along with Alex Bolt (SA), Jordan Thompson (NSW), James Lemke (VIC) and 2011 Junior Wimbledon and 2012 Australian Open junior champion Luke Saville (SA).

They will be joined by a group of international players including four of Japan’s top 30 players – Kento Takeuchi, Yuichi Ito, Junn Mitsuhashi and Yusuke Watanuki – and New Zealand’s Logan Mackenzie.

A host of junior talent is also set to compete, including Harry Bourchier (TAS), Jacob Grills (VIC) and Blake Mott (NSW).

Local tennis Alice Springs players to watch out for in the qualifying include Nicholas Whyte, George Shepheard and Jake Johan.

“It’s fantastic to see such a strong field for the Alice Springs Tennis International. These events provide a chance for people outside of the capital cities to see some top quality professional tennis,” said tournament director Mark Pead.

“Following last year’s success, we hope the local community can once again head down to Tennis Alice Springs to watch our countries up and coming tennis stars take their next step onto the global tennis stage at this free community event.”

Pead also praised the Alice Springs Tennis Association and Tennis Alice Springs for their ongoing support and encouraged the community to get behind the future of Australian tennis at this event.

Qualifying will begin on Sunday 22 September with the main draw starting Tuesday 24 September; play commences at 10.00am each day.