Traralgon VIC 3844, Australia, 26 October 2015 | David Packman

After several months of illness and injuries, Marinko Matosevic is making his comeback after successfully qualifying for the main draw at the 2015 Latrobe City Traralgon ATP Challenger.

“This is probably the fittest I’ve ever been for this time of year, late October,” he said.

Now aged 30, Matosevic says he is confident he can return to the heights he achieved in 2013, when he reached a career-high ranking of world No.39.

“Yeah, definitely. I feel like I’m a better player now, it’s more about staying healthy,” he said.

It’s been eight years since he last played in Traralgon, making the semifinals at the ITF Futures event in 2007.

Matosevic hasn’t played competitively since qualifying for the ATP event in Washington DC nearly three months ago.

The Victorian – the eighth seed this week and currently ranked 285th – faces Queenslander and Traralgon favourite Ben Mitchell in the first round before a potential encounter against in-form Czech Robin Stanek.

Stanek is already a dual titlist on the Australian Pro Tour this year after successes in Alice Springs and Toowoomba.

Matosevic’s remaining threat en route to the final looks likely to come from second seed Jordan Thompson. A recent runner-up at the ATP Challenger event in Ho Chi Minh City, the Sydney-sider is arguably enjoying a career-best run.

Meanwhile, top seed Matt Ebden starts his Traralgon campaign against another recent Pro Tour champion (Cairns) in Kiwi Finn Tearney.

Should he progress, Ebden will likely face fourth seed Luke Saville or fifth-seeded American Connor Smith in a semifinal.

Saville faces big-hitting Matthew Barton – in his first match back on tour since May – in the opening round, and following that is a potential opportunity for revenge against Gavin van Peperzeel; the Queenslander edged past Saville in the Brisbane Pro Tour final on Sunday.

In another interesting first round encounter, rising Victorian teen Omar Jasika meets third seed Brydan Klein, a semifinalist at the inaugural Traralgon Challenger in 2013.

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