Bendigo VIC 3550, Australia, 20 September 2014 | Tennis Australia

Bendigo’s annual Festival of Tennis will return to the region when it hosts back-to-back US$50,000 women’s ITF events, an Australian Money Tournament and a Junior Tour event on 1-16 November 2014.

The William Loud Bendigo International Pro Tour 1 and 2 are now annual fixtures on the Australian Pro Tour calendar, attracting some of the biggest names in Australian women’s tennis.

In 2013 these two tournaments replaced Bendigo’s successful men’s and women’s ITF event. Current world No.30 Casey Dellacqua, who captured both titles in 2013, as well as Jarmila Gajdosova, Olivia Rogowska and Storm Sanders, are just some of the athletes who have competed in Bendigo alongside a list of high quality international competitors.

Jason Simmons, Tennis Australia Tournament Operations Coordinator, considers Bendigo integral to the Australian Pro Tour.

“Bendigo continues to deliver supreme Australian Pro Tour events, forming the backbone of the tour’s calendar. It’s the only venue in Australia that hosts two key women’s tournaments of this calibre in successive weeks,” Simmons said.

“The location, dedicated staff and volunteers make Bendigo an attractive venue for top tier tennis competition for professional players locally and around the world in the lead up to the Australian summer as they compete for a large prize purse and WTA ranking points.

“Players have reaped the benefits of playing events such as these. Just look at Casey Dellacqua who won both titles in Bendigo last year before her rapid rise up the world rankings this year.”

Simmons was joined by Hon. Damian Drum MLC, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Cr Lisa Ruffell, City of Greater Bendigo Deputy Mayor and tennis great Todd Woodbridge in Bendigo this afternoon to launch the festival of tennis.

Tennis in the region was given a major boost when Mr Drum announced $2.4 million worth of Victorian Government funding towards a new show court with room for grandstand seating to be installed, new clubrooms featuring a multipurpose function room and improved change room facilities.

Former professional player Woodbridge was impressed with the plans in place for tennis in Bendigo and its future direction.

“Facilities like the Bendigo Bank Tennis Complex are integral to the foundation of the sport and it’s a great thing to see Tennis Australia, the Victorian Government and the City of Greater Bendigo all working together,” Woodbridge said.

“An improved facility will ensure the complex has the ability to continue to host world class tennis events as well as more prestigious ones in the future.

“Bendigo is a pivotal region in the tennis landscape and facilities like these are vital to the growth and development of the sport but also create opportunity to motivate the younger generation to pick up a racquet and play tennis.”

The Victorian Government also announced today a further $10,000 worth of funding through the state’s significant sporting events program to support the two-week festival.

Since 2011, the government has provided support to the Bendigo Tennis Association and the City of Greater Bendigo for this annual event.