New Zealand has announced the first tennis tournament since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The tournament is set to be played from June 3.
Tennis New Zealand is working in partnership with the Lavie Tennis Academy to produce an Auckland-based men’s Premier League professional competition. The Southern hemisphere competition will run for three weeks.
The tournament will feature 112 matches played throughout the tournament behind closed doors. However, the event will be broadcasted either on Sky Sports or on their YouTube Channel, Sky Sport Next.
Tennis New Zealand High-Performance Director Christophe Lambert, said that the tournament will give the players the practice they need before returning to the world stage.
“The NZ Premier League offers opportunities for our best players to have a home base competitive environment, so they are ready to jump back in when the pro circuit starts again, but also for our younger players to get the experience needed to perform at the highest level,” Lambert added.
New Zealand does not currently have any players in the top 500 of the ATP singles ranking. However, the tournament confirmed the following Auckland based-players will be in attendance.
Rubin Statham and Artem Sitak, New Zealand-based, Cameron Norrie of Great Britain and Queenstown’s Japanese Davis Cup player Ben McLachlan. In addition, the tournament will feature college players and youth prospects.
Tennis NZ CEO Julie Paterson said, “It’s great to create playing opportunities for all the New Zealand male players currently back in the country.”
The format of the tournament will see 24 players split into eight teams of three. They will play three weeks of round-robin and then play finals.