MORE status, more ranking points, better players.
That is the thinking behind next month’s Victorian Junior Grasscourt Championships in Wodonga.
The tournament has been awarded a gold ranking for the first time, meaning that more top-ranked youngsters will be enticed to enter.
Tournament director Michael Robin said it is going to be bigger and better than ever before.
He says 10 of the top-20 juniors played last year and expects that number to rise next year.
“This year in particular the quality looks to be particularly high,” Robin said.
“We’ve been awarded a gold status for both our open and junior events.
“A gold ranking is as high as you can go for a club competition and the number of points awarded for winning increases as the tournament is ranked higher.
“Last year we had 10 of the top 20 ranked young players in Australia playing in some of our events, so it already attracts a lot of interest.”
Robin said that he expected around 320 players to descend on the Wodonga Tennis Centre for the five days of competition between January 8 and 12.
“We’ll have people from absolutely everywhere in Australia and even some from around the world,” he said.
“There’s a large crew from Queensland, a contingent from the Northern Territory, a group from Albany in Western Australia, and a couple of groups come down from Sydney, as well as people from all over Victoria.
“We also get a group from New Zealand, a group of New Caledonians, a group from Fiji, and even a travelling group from Japan.”
Robin also believed the timing of the event was part of the reason for the championship’s popularity.
“We get a lot of travelling groups coming to our tournament,” he said.
“They come down, play in our competition and sometimes play in the Margaret Court Cup as well.
“We also finish the day before the Australian Open, so then some travel down there and spend three or four days at the Open.”
The Victorian Grasscourt Championships has an open, under-16, under-14 and under-12 divisions for both boys and girls with points on offer for the winners.
“We’ve even got an Under-10 event which really focuses on participation more than anything,” he said.
“It’s a full-on week of tennis.”
Entries close on December 27, and must be made online at tournaments.tennis.com.au.