Playford Council and Tennis Australia discuss hosting ATP Challenger at $8 million centre
A PROFESSIONAL tennis tournament could be hosted in the northern suburbs, attracting players from around the world.
Playford Council met representatives from Tennis Australia and Tennis SA in a closed meeting last week to discuss the possibility of hosting a leg of the Challenger Tour at the Playford City Tennis Centre, the Northern Weekly understands.
The Challenger Tour is a series of tournaments held around the world for players listed from number 100 on the world rankings.
The competition is a level below the ATP World Tour.
Tennis SA tournaments co-ordinator Breanna Hassam said the venue would be an ideal location for international events.
“The Playford City Tennis Centre will form an integral part of Tennis SA’s tournaments and events strategy,” Ms Hassam said.
“The centre will be an outstanding world-class, state-of-the-art venue and it is our intent to hold international level events at the centre in the future.”
The centre, located at Spruance Oval, Elizabeth, will have 26 courts, clubrooms and lighting towers.
Work on the $8.9 million started last year and is expected to be completed in September.
Grove Tennis Club will relocate from its Elizabeth Grove home to the centre ahead of its summer season.
Club secretary Gloria Dennis said hosting an international tournament would help encourage more children to have a hit.
“I am sure that any tournament that is held there will have a great impact and will get a lot more people coming out to play,” Mrs Dennis said.
“It will be an incentive for a lot of people to want to go on and play more tennis.”
The tournament was held last year at the Happy Valley Tennis Club and attracted 5000 spectators over its nine days, with more than 500 people attending its Sunday final last year.
Players at the tournament competed for $100,000 prizemoney.
In recent years, the tournament has attracted the likes of former world No. 8 Marcos Baghdatis and US player Ryan Harrison.
It was one of six legs of the tournament held in Australia last season.
Happy Valley Tennis Club president Simon Longhurst confirmed the club would not be hosting the tournament next time.
He said the tournament put a strain on the club’s resources.
“We couldn’t get our courts up to scratch, but whoever is hosting it will have to find $50,000 and a hell of a lot of volunteers,” Mr Longhurst said.
“It is a good for tennis though that it has stayed in the state.”
Mayor Glenn Docherty confirmed the council met with Tennis SA and said it would look at any proposals which may benefit the community.
He would not comment if the ATP Challenger had been proposed, as the meeting was closed to the public.
The council is yet to make a decision on whether it will host the tournament and is having further discussions with Tennis SA to finalise an arrangement.