Ballarat tournament set to be best in decades

THE inaugural Ballarat AMT Gold Pro Tournament kicks off tomorrow, and tournament director Rob Benoit says it could be the best contest the region has seen in decades.

The Tennis Australia gold-rated tournament will attract players from all over Victoria, Australia and internationally and will include a number of qualifying rounds, with eight spots for qualifiers to progress to the main draw starting on Friday. 

The top 16 seeded players will join the qualifiers in the main draw, with the top eight seeds to play their first match in the second round, with the other eight competing against the eight from the qualifying rounds. 

Ballarat Regional Tennis Centre manager and tournament director Rob Benoit said there hasn’t been a tournament of this calibre in the region for 20 years. 

“Preparation has been going really well, we’re really happy with the entries,” Benoit said. 

The world’s fastest server Sam Goth is the top seed to take the men’s individual competition. 

The 25-year-old from Melbourne served at 263km/h at the ATP Challenger in Busan, South Korea in May earlier this year.

Kingston 16-year-old Zoe Hives is expected to be the region’s strongest performer, seeded fourth in the singles female competition. 

“There will be some exceptional tennis played, with second seed James Lemke who is ranked 25th in Australia, and Austrian player Sebastian Bader,” Benoit said.

More than 20 women and 60 men will compete in the qualifying round tomorrow from 8.30 am at the Ballarat Regional Tennis Centre.

The women’s main draw will begin at 8.30am on Friday, with the men’s starting at 11.30 on Friday following the final qualifying round in the morning. 

The $7500 in prize money available has been funded by Ballarat Regional Tourism and Tennis Australia. 

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