The Realway Bundaberg Tennis Open will host its biggest field in more than a decade and a former world top 100 player at this weekend’s AMT (Australian Money Tournament) Gold Event at Drinan Park.
Headlined by international tennis pro Jason Kubler, the tournament has experienced a surge in interest with 66% more players set to compete than in 2019.
A total of 58 players have entered the men’s AMT event and 19 players will compete in the women’s AMT.
The former world No. 91 and world junior no. 1 Brisbane based Jason Kubler is the top seed in the men’s draw, followed by Sunshine Coast based Calum Puttergill.
Kubler, who last competed in the event in 2013, when he was beaten by current world No. 71 and future Australian Davis Cup representative James Duckworth 6-7, 2-6, is returning from injury and prefers claycourt tournaments due to recurring knee issues.
Kubler was often referred to as a “right-handed version of Rafael Nadal” for his powerful build and strong forehand.
Back in 2009, Kubler led the Junior Davis Cup team to victory, remaining undefeated in singles and doubles and this triumph was part of a 36-match winning streak in 2009 that also reaped five junior ITF titles.
Later that year he won the Optus 18s Australian Championships and he made his Grand Slam debut at the 2010 Australian Open.
Kubler qualified at Wimbledon in 2018, marking the first time he had won three qualifying rounds to reach a Grand Slam main draw.
The 27-year-old, who is currently ranked no. 274, will meet unseeded 20-year-old Sam Oster in the first round at 12.30pm tomorrow.
Bundaberg’s Chris Rae, who competed at the Australian Open as a junior for a number of years, will make a return to tournament play at the age of 42.
Chris will play in qualification, meeting sixth seed Hugo Joaquim Babakian first-up, 8am tomorrow at the Realway Bundaberg Tennis Open.
Chris will also team up with Lachlan Vickery in the doubles.
“Thanks to the inspiration of my two sons Lachlan and Christian, a bit of personal drive, and getting my butt back on the court to hit some balls, I've decided after 18 years off to have a bash in my first tournament,” Chris said.
“The last time I played in the Bundy Open Queensland Claycourt in 2002, I won the men's singles. The last match I ever played in 2003 was in a pro tournament in Rockhampton, where I won my first round of main draw and was forced to forfeit my second round due to injury.
“I made the tough decision to stop playing competitively from this point and move to different ventures in life which I have greatly appreciated and learnt from. I never thought this would happen, but you never know what's around the corner in life.”
In the women’s event, Alexandra Bozovic (NSW) is the top seed, ahead of Megan Smith (Qld).
Competition will run throughout the weekend with the finals on Monday at Drinan Park.
Bundaberg Open Tournament Director Ken Hick is encouraging locals to come and see high level tennis.
“The Bundaberg Open has always attracted strong fields and this year we are seeing the strength in numbers as well as calibre. To have Jason Kubler, who cracked the world’s top 100 in 2018 headlining our field demonstrates the standard of players we have competing this year. I invite Bundaberg locals to get down to the tournament and support the future stars of Queensland tennis,” Hick said.
Rob Barty, the father of world no. 1 Ashleigh Barty, will also visit the Bundaberg Open and Bundaberg Juniors during the weekend to answer questions and share his experience of raising the world’s best player.
A number of other locals will also compete in the Men’s Special Singles and Double.
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