Numbers get on board for the Open
TENNIS: A week can be a long time when it comes to being an organiser of a tennis tournament.
Just ask Realway Bundaberg Open tournament director Rob Hardie.
The tournament last week was almost cancelled after entries were not at the required level to host the event from May 4 to 6.
Hardie extended the deadline for entries in the hope that the late rush that usually happens for events gets the required numbers.
And, it did with a record number of entries coming to Bundaberg to compete in the event since it returned last year.
"We're pretty happy with how they ended up,” Hardie said.
"Last year we had 35 players and 51 entries, this year the number of players and entries have significantly increased.
"We have 51 players and 88 entries.”
The Bundaberg Open this year has attracted two female players inside the top 100 in the Australian rankings for the Australian Money Tournament event.
Megan Smith, last year's winner, is one of them as she aims for back-to-back titles.
The men's AMT tournament has four inside the top 100 in the Australian rankings.
Jayden Court (53), Louis Clark (98) and Patrick Kotan (91) are also ranked by the International Tennis Federation, which allow the trio to compete overseas at professional ITF and potential ATP events.
Bundaberg is represented as well with Chelsea May competing alongside Darina Kamenoff who is now based on the Gold Coast.
Between six to 10 Tennis Bundaberg club members will give it a go against the best in the AMT.
"We're lucky a few things have fallen our way,” he said.
"Tennis Queensland and Tennis Australia have done us a favour by running us as the first tournament.”
The Bundaberg Open is the first stop of the King and Queen of Clay, which offers bonus prize money to those that can win three tournaments at Queensland clay events.
The other two venues are Gold Coast and Ipswich.
Hardie said the quality of tennis will be high, so he hopes the Bundaberg community can come out and support it.
"It will run three days from Saturday to Monday,” he said.
"We'll try and get through some advertising and publicity to promote the event.
”It's a public holiday, for the final, so we hope people have taken their break during the recent school holidays and we can get a few spectators watching them.”
To view the full list of competitors, head to https://bit.ly/2TRMYcA.