Top players drawn to Te Anau Open
The $10,000 Te Anau Tennis Open promises to be a holiday treat.
Some of New Zealand's best tennis players will display their skills at the men-only tournament on December 28 and 29.
Topping the entries is Marcus Daniell, who bases himself in Auckland and London and is ranked fourth in New Zealand.
He and Romanian Horia Tecău won the doubles title at the 2010 Heineken Open in Auckland.
Others notable players heading to Te Anau include New Zealand's Davis Cup team captain, Alistair Hunt, of Christchurch, and Mark Neilsen, of Auckland.
Sponsored by Te Anau restaurant La Dolce Vita, the Open's prizemoney breaks down into $5000 for the winner, $2500, second; $1000, third; $500, fourth; and $250, fifth to eighth.
The Open is the brainchild of Te Anau tennis fan Ian Willans.
His son Murray and the Fiordland Events Centre Trust were driving forces behind the construction of four outdoor courts two years ago.
They are the main tennis courts in the town and close to the Events Centre.
Last year Ian Willans came up with the idea of holding a high profile tennis tournament.
"We've got nice tennis courts . . I thought it would be good to do something special," said Willans, who is on the Te Anau Tennis Open committee.
Willans and Te Anau Tennis Club president Greg Sheppard are determined to make the Open an annual event.
"It'll be $20,000 [in prizemoney] next year," Willans said.
Sheppard is delighted with the high level of interest in the Open.
"The locals are loving the idea. We've pre-sold 12 corporate courtside tables [viewing areas]."
If it rains, the open will be held in the Events Centre. Stadium Southland's transportable court surface (matting), used for Davis Cup matches in Invercargill up to 2005, is being laid in the centre next week.