Challenger approaching




AUSTRALIAN Davis Cup representative Thanasi Kokkinakis and last year’s runner-up Bradley Klahn (USA) are among the drawcards for Traralgon’s ATP Challenger tennis double feature, starting this weekend with qualifying.

Following the success of the inaugural ATP Challenger event at Traralgon Tennis Association, the club secured back-to-back Pro Tour events for its second coming, with a host of top 200 world-ranked players set to compete in the region over the next fortnight.

The bulk of the field has nominated for both events and contains the likes of Traralgon favourites Ben Mitchell and Luke Saville, highly ranked Japanese players Go Soeda and Hiroki Moriya and Australian Matthew Ebden, on the cusp of the top 100.

TTA manager Susie Grumley said she hoped to see the town turn out to “appreciate how good they all are in your own backyard”.

“What we really want is to get the word out there to get more people down here to watch… some of these Aussie kids won a couple of rounds at Wimbledon this year, and some of these guys are in the top 110 in the world,” Grumley said.

“They’re top international players, they’re not your Federers or top 20, but they’re people that will probably, a lot of them, play the Australian Open.”

United States world number 122 Klahn, who has a career high ranking of 63, will be among the men to watch after dropping a rain delayed final to Yuki Bhambri last year.

Klahn, who arrived in Traralgon early this week, has twice reached the second round of the US Open and at 24 years of age is poised to break through at grand slam level.

Branded as one of Australian tennis’ ‘Special Ks’, alongside former Traralgon ITF Junior champion Nick Kyrgios, Kokkinakis is another threat having surged to world number 158.

The addition of world number 111, and British number two behind Andy Murray, James Ward for Challenger 2 will shake things up significantly in the second week of play.

In another first for the event, Tennis Australia will work with IMG to livestream every main ball match via the ATP website.

Along with the club’s ITF Junior International, the event brings in more than $1 million in direct spend, and more than $2 million in indirect spend for the region.

“It’s great for the town, the money that it brings in, the economic impact that it has with the restaurants and the accommodation and everything is amazing,” Grumley said.

“Some of them (the players and their entourages) are here nearly three weeks.”

The Traralgon ATP Challenger 1 runs from Saturday through to 2 November, and is immediately followed by Challenger 2 from 1 to 9 November.

The main draw begins on Monday, with grand final days scheduled for 2 and 9 November.

Spectator entry is free.

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Go Soeda (JPN)

Age: 30 | Current world ranking: 112

Career high ranking: 47 (July 23, 2012)

2014: Won Busan Challenger, Nan Chang Challenger

2013: Won Maui Challenger, R/up Beijing Challenger, Yokohama Challenger

2012: Won Honolulu Challenger, Pingguo Challenger, Kaohsiung Challenger, R/up Singapore Challenger

2011: Won Pingguo Challenger, Wuhai Challenger

James Ward (GBR)

Age: 27 | Current world ranking: 111

Career high ranking: 110

2014: R/up Lexington Challenger, SF Vancouver Challenger, Istanbul Challenger

2013: Won Lexington Challenger, R/up West Lakes Challenger, An-Ning Challenger

2012: Won Chinese Taipei F2 Futures

2011: Won Vancouver Challenger, R/up Lexington Challenger, SF Queens London

Matthew Ebden (AUS)

Age: 26 | Current world ranking: 123

Career high ranking: 61 (October 1, 2012)

2014: 2nd Rd Australian Open, US Open

2013: Won Nottingham Challenger, Melbourne Park Challenger, Yokohama Challenger, Toyota Challenger, R/up Napa Challenger, Tiburon Challenger

2011: SF Caloundra Challenger, Dallas Challenger, Cremona Challenger, QF Brisbane International

Bradley Klahn (USA)

Age: 24 | Current world ranking: 122

Career high ranking: 63 (March 17, 2014)

2014: Won Maui Challenger, West Lakes Challenger, QF Binghamton Challenger

2013: Won Costa Mesa Futures, Aptos Challenger, Yeongwol Challenger, R/Up Traralgon Challenger, Binghamton Challenger, Winnetka Challenger, Calabasas Futures, QF Maui Challenger

2012: QF Aptos Challenger, Sacramento Challenger, Tiburon Challenger, 2nd Rd US Open

Hiroki Moriya (JPN)

Age: 24 | Current singles ranking: 154

Career high singles ranking: 149 (August 4, 2014)

2014: Won Granby Challenger, R/up Burnie Challenger, Granby Challenger, SF West Lakes Challenger, Shenzen Challenger

2013: R/up Shanghai Challenger, SF Kyoto Challenger, Granby Challenger, Mildura Tennis International

2012: Won Australia Mildura Tennis International, Kofu Futures, R/up Toyota Challenger, Kaosiung Futures, SF Toowoomba Tennis International, Kyoto Challenger,

2011: Won Chinese Taipei Futures, R/up Kashiwa Futures, Sapporo Futures, Port Pirie Tennis International, SF Berri Tennis International, Kalgoorlie Tennis International

Luke Saville (AUS)

Age: 20 | Current singles ranking: 173

Career high singles ranking: 161 (August 18, 2014)

2014: Won Port Pirie Tennis International, Mildura Tennis International, Glen Iris Tennis International, R/up Happy Valley Tennis International, Toowoomba Tennis International, 2nd Round Wimbledon

2013: Won Sydney Tennis International, R/up Little Rock Futures, Bangkok Futures, SF Toowoomba Tennis International, Alice Springs Tennis International

2012: Won Australian Open Junior Championships, Bangkok Futures, Cairns Tennis International, R/up Wimbledon Junior Championships, Loy Yang Traralgon International, Latrobe City MSS Security Tennis International

2011: Won Wimbledon Junior Championships, R/up Australian Open Junior Championships, Loy Yang Traralgon International

Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS)

Age: 18 | Current singles ranking: 158

Career high singles ranking: 158 (current)

2014: Won Saskatoon Futures, SF Heilbronn Challenger, Lexington Challenger

2013: R/up Australian Open Junior Championships, US Open Junior Championships

2012: SF Bendigo Tennis International, Westende Futures

Alex Bolt (AUS)

Age: 21 | Current singles ranking: 212

Career high singles ranking: 206

2014: Won Australia Melbourne Park International, An-Ning Challenger, R/up Glen Iris Tennis International, SF Port Pirie Tennis International, Napa Challenger, QF Australian Open Doubles, Burnie Challenger

2013: R/up Cairns Tennis International, SF Melbourne Park International, Mildura Tennis International, Sydney Tennis International, Chengdu Futures, Roemerburg Futures

2012: Won Happy Valley Tennis International, Hong Kong Futures, R/up Esperance Tennis International, Hong Kong Futures, SF Cairns Tennis International


Traralgon ATP Challenger 1

(27 Oct – 2 Nov)

Direct Acceptances 22

Wildcards 4

Qualifiers 4

Special exempts 2

Bolt, Alex AUS 212

Chen, Ti TPE 225

Ebden, Matthew AUS 123

Edmund, Kyle GBR 242

Garanganga, Takanyi ZIM 325

Huang, Liang-Chi TPE 295

Jenkins, Jarmere USA 291

Jung, Jason USA 313

Klahn, Bradley USA 122

Klein, Brydan GBR 253

Kokkinakis, Thanasi AUS 158

Mitchell, Benjamin AUS 264

Moriya, Hiroki JPN 154

Niki, Takuto JPN 327

Reid, Matt AUS 228

Saville, Luke AUS 173

Smith, John-Patrick AUS 232

Soeda, Go JPN 112

Thompson, Jordan AUS 270

Venus, Michael NZL 353

Wu, Di CHN 231

Yang, Tsung-Hua TPE 238

Traralgon ATP Challenger 2

(1-9 November)


Jones, Greg AUS 919

Millman, John AUS 287

Ward, James GBR 111


Niki, Takuto JPN 327

Venus, Michael NZL 353

Garanganga, Takanyi ZIM 325