Aussie tennis stars headline new-look ATL
Many of Australia's top tennis stars will do battle in the coming weeks in a revamped Asia-Pacific Tennis League.
The Asia-Pacific Tennis League (ATL) returns to local courts tomorrow, launching three adrenalin-charged weeks of FAST4 team tennis featuring some of the nation’s top players.
In 2015 the revamped league will comprise 16 men’s and 16 women’s teams competing across two conferences: North and South.
Teams will compete for a share of $40,000 in the conference rounds, with winners and runners up to battle it out alongside teams from throughout Asia-Pacific in the ATL Play-offs at Australian Open 2016, where a prize purse of $150,000 will be on the line.
Teams from the ACT, New South Wales and Queensland will go head to head in the North conference. In a coup for Queensland, five franchises from the state have been selected to play for the title of North conference champion and a place in the ATL Play-offs.
The men’s conference will be led by defending ATL champions the Tennis Brisbane Chargers, whose line-up includes world No.90 John Millman (Qld). The 26-year-old has just posted his best year on tour, highlighted by a career-best ranking of world No.71 in August.
The North conference also features the Beenleigh Blazers, Brisbane Sharks, Tennyson Volt featuring Queensland Money Race champion Kaden Hensel (Qld) and former world No.1 junior Jason Kubler (Qld), the Sunshine Coast Breakers, Sydney Saints with Newcombe Medal finalist and world No.60 Sam Groth (Vic) and ATP Tour mate James Duckworth (NSW), the Western Sydney Warriors and Canberra Velocity, whose list includes world No.30 Nick Kyrgios (ACT).
The women’s North conference features a raft of the Sunshine State’s rising stars including Queensland Junior Athlete of the Year and two-time 2015 Pro Tour finalist Kimberly Birrell (Beenleigh Blaze), Naiktha Bains, Priscilla Hon and Lizette Cabrera (all Brisbane Sharks), New South Wales’ Seone Mendez (Western Sydney Warriors) and the ACT’s Alison Bai (Canberra Velocity).
The South conference will be an equally fiercely contested affair between teams from Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia.
The men’s competition comprises the Dingley Dingoes, Royal South Yarras featuring former Australian Open and Wimbledon junior champion Luke Saville (SA) and rising star Alex Bolt (SA), Kooyong Classics with Wimbledon and US Open doubles finalist John Peers (Vic), the Dover Square Destroyers, Tasmanian Devils, Western Wildlings featuring Matt Ebden (WA), The Drive featuring world No.80 and Newcombe Medal finalist Thanasi Kokkinakis (SA) and the NETA Knights.
The women’s conference includes the Mornington Missiles, defending champions the Royal South Yarras, MCC Stars, Kooyong Classics, Tasmanian Devils, Western Wildlings, Kensington Wildcats and the Prospect Flames.
Victorian young guns Daria Gavrilova and Fed Cup team member Olivia Rogowska (both Royal South Yarra), Western Australia’s Casey Dellacqua (Western Wildlings) and three-time Victorian Junior Athlete of the Year Destanee Aiava (Kooyong Classics) will all hit the courts.
Tennis Australia ATL Manager David Hearne said the 2015 season was shaping up to be one of the best yet.
“It’s great to see so many of Australia’s best players signed up to compete in the fourth season of the ATL,” he said.
“Tennis fans can look forward to seeing some world class tennis at local courts around the country in the coming weeks, and we encourage everyone to get along and support all our teams.”
More information about the ATL, including full team lists and conference schedules, can be viewed here.