The 2017 Maxim Financial Wellington Tennis Open starts today with early round matches and runs until Sunday at the Renouf Tennis Centre with both of the men’s and women’s top players using the tournament as good build up for other events.
No.1 women’s seed, Julia Glushko from Israel is ranked 250 in the world having been as high as 79 a couple of years ago and is currently playing a pro event in Australia. If she keeps on winning she’ll have to skip the tournament in Wellington. Her coach, former New Zealand Davis Cup player Sebastian Lavie has already had to withdraw from the Renouf Centre hosted event as a result of the clash.
Glushko reached the third round of the US Open in 2013 and the French Open in 2014 and has had wins over a number of top 25 ranked players. She also has eight ITF singles titles and 11 ITF doubles titles to her credit. If she makes it back to Wellington she’ll be well worth the effort to watch.
Meanwhile men’s top seed and defending champion, Rubin Statham ranked 382 in the world has been playing in Australia and is using Wellington as preparation for Davis Cup against South Korea in Auckland the following week.
Marcus Daniell at a career-high doubles ranking of 42 is coming home from the big Miami Masters and is also using the tournament as good preparation for Davis Cup. Daniell recently reached the final of the Sao Paulo ATP event in Brazil. He won the singles title in Wellington in 2008, but doubles is his primary career path now.
The singles draw in Wellington should have Statham up against either Wellington’s Olly Sadler who has an ATP singles ranking and won the title in 2013 or Taranaki junior Ajeet Rai who is inside the top 100 ranked juniors in the world and is the current New Zealand National junior title holder.
The other side of the draw features Auckland-based, Brit Rhett Purcell who is internationally ranked and has just returned from Australia and also tournaments in Indonesia. If seedings go to play Purcell would face either Daniell or Jaden Grinter in the semifinals.
The women’s draw has Glushko potentially player Waikato teenager Nina Paripovich in one semifinal while Wellington junior Ivy Mclean or Southland’s Emilia Price should take on second seed and last year’s finalist Leela Beattie in the other semifinal.
The tournament has previously been won by some of the greats of the sport in New Zealand, Lew Gerrad, Brian Fairlie, Onny Parun, Chris Lewis and Russell Simpson as well as Ruia Morrison, Belinda Cordwell and Julie Richardson to name a few in the women’s section.