Happy Valley SA, Australia, 20 August 2014 | Tennis Australia

South Australia’s standing on the world tennis map has received a significant boost, with the City of Onkaparinga Tennis International being upgraded to ATP Challenger status from January 2015.

One of the longest standing Australian Pro Tour events in South Australia, the tournament has been upgraded from ITF Futures to ATP Challenger status in a major coup for event organisers.

The tournament will now give players the opportunity to compete for a slice of USD$50,000 in prize money as well as valuable world ranking points.

Tennis SA and Tennis Australia, in conjunction with the City of Onkaparinga and Happy Valley Tennis Club, will host South Australia’s newest addition to the ATP calendar from 3-11 January 2015.

The addition of the City of Onkaparinga ATP Challenger to the summer of tennis and Australian Pro Tour series provides an ideal lead-in event for players vying for a coveted position in Australian Open Series events and Australian Open 2015.

City of Onkaparinga Mayor Lorraine Rosenberg will join Jason Simmons, Tennis Australia Tournament Operations Coordinator and Steven Baldas, Chief Executive Officer Tennis SA for an official media opportunity at Happy Valley Tennis Club on Wednesday 20 August.

“These ATP level events provide a very important springboard for players to move up the rankings and this event, being the week before Australian Open qualifying, will be a vital warm-up for players heading to Melbourne,” Simmons said.

“Australians have had great success at ATP Challenger events in recent times, with Nick Kyrgios (ACT), Sam Groth (Vic), James Duckworth (NSW), Thanasi Kokkinakis (SA) and Alex Bolt (SA) all winning Challenger titles this year.

“Following the success of the tournament at Futures level over the past nine years, we look forward to the local community getting behind the event again and thank the City of Onkaparinga for their continued support.”

Mayor Rosenberg said the tournament was a highlight of the city’s summer events calendar.

“The City of Onkaparinga is delighted to be supporting and hosting the ATP Challenger event in 2015,” she said.

“The tournament provides a fantastic opportunity for locals to watch the world’s up-and-coming players close to home and for these tennis players to personally experience our wonderful region and all it has to offer.”

The City of Onkaparinga ATP Challenger will form a major part of South Australia’s World Tennis Challenge (WTC) Be Active Challenge events, set to take place throughout January.

“Tennis SA is thrilled to include the City of Onkaparinga ATP Challenger in the WTC Be Active Challenge for 2015. The WTC Be Active Challenge forms South Australia’s largest tennis participation event, with in excess of 15 events to be held across the state,” said Baldas.

“The inclusion of this event and its upgrade to ATP Challenger status is a credit to the team at Happy Valley Tennis Club, who have worked tirelessly to secure the tournament for 2015.”

The player field for the City of Onkaparinga ATP Challenger will be announced later this year.