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Club hosts pro tour
BECKY FELSTEAD Margaret River Tennis Club president Roger Budd, vice captain Beck O’Connell and Ben Dombroski prepare for the pro tournament to come to Margaret River.

The Margaret River Tennis Club will host its first Tennis Australia Pro Tour tournament this year.

After more than five years of hard work, the club got the all-clear recently to host a combined mens’ and ladies’ singles event at the Gloucester Park facility from October 6 to 14, which will feature some of the country’s best up-and-coming tennis talents.

MRTC President Roger Budd said the club had come a long way since failing to get an Australian Money Tournament off the ground last year.

“This format of event is actually only one level below the Australian Open,” he told the Times.

The tournament would be one of 30 held across the country and contributes to a lucrative $1.2 million annual tour that serves as a pathway to Association of Tennis Professional international tours and events.

“There will be a $50,000 purse and not only Australian ranking points on offer, but world ranking points,” Budd said.

“Anyone wanting to get onto the world circuit, who is working their way into the international ranks, this is their ticket in.”

The club last hosted an Australian Money Tournament in 2010, but failed to get the finances together to host an event last year.

Budd said this year’s event was aided by a strong funding push from the Augusta-Margaret River Shire and tactical planning from the sporting group.

He said the tournament would put Margaret River “on the tennis map.”

“There are not many centres that offer this quality of an event in the regions,” Budd said.

“There’s a focus on bring Margaret River onto the tennis map and securing our position as the regional centre for the sport in the South West.”

Budd also hoped the tournament would strengthen the club’s bid to build four more courts onto the existing facility and encourage Tennis Australia to invest in a court resurfacing project.

He said the committee would be seeking major sponsors for the event in the coming months.