Back to business for Whittington and Polmans in Burnie
Marc Polmans and Andrew Whittington are among the Aussies at the ATP Challenger in Burnie this week after their Australian Open doubles semifinal appearance.
The 2017 Caterpillar Burnie International has seen four Australian qualifiers join the main draw, which already included recent Australian Open doubles surprise packets Andrew Whittington and Marc Polmans among other notables.
“With what’s happened over the past two weeks, my first Grand Slam singles win and making the semifinals in doubles with Marc, it’s been unbelievable,” Whittington said. “It’s something I can definitely use for the rest of the year.”
“But it’s a different week now and I’ve got a couple of different goals.”
Whittington, the third seed in Burnie, opens his campaign against Blaz Rola, the Slovak a former top 100 player.
“Yep. I’ve got a tough first round,” he said. “It’s another tournament, another week, and anything can happen. I’m just looking forward to getting out there and giving it another red hot crack.”
Polmans comes into Burnie unseeded and is up against fifth-seeded Australian Matthew Burton in his opening match. “That’s good, that’s what I want,” he said. “The opportunity to play against higher ranked opponents to see where I’m at.”
After playing three matches at a packed Margaret Court Arena, Polmans was circumspect about arriving in Burnie for the ATP Challenger event.
“It was a cool to play in front of a big crowd, so it’s definitely a change of scenery, but it doesn’t affect me at all really,” he said. “You can’t play Grand Slams every week.”
With Whittington and Barton the only seeded Australians, the remainder find themselves dispersed fairly evenly throughout the draw, with Max Purcell facing Italian Riccardo Bellotti, Blake Mott and Australian Open wildcard Chris O’Connell taking on qualifying compatriots Greg Jones and James Frawley respectively, while Omar Jasika plays American Daniel Nguyen.
Of local interest will be another all-Australian first round clash between wildcards Matthew Ebden and Tasmanian Harry Bourchier.
Wildcard Alex Bolt – who, like Whittington, had a maiden Grand Slam win at Melbourne Park – faces American Evan King with a potential clash with top seed Go Soeda in the second round. The Japanese will play qualifier Dayne Kelly in his opener.
Meanwhile, Bradley Mousley – a doubles quarterfinalist in Melbourne with Bolt – has a potentially tougher opening against Egyptian fourth seed Mohamed Safwat, as does Luke Saville, who is drawn to play second seed Jason Jung of Taiwan.