ALMOST 300 tennis players from across Australia will converge on Warrnambool for the Sungold Junior Grasscourt Open next week.
Tournament director Sam Baulch yesterday said 287 players had signed up for the five-day open, which starts on December 27.
The figure is on par with the 285 who took to the courts in 2012 and includes players from every Australian state except Western Australia.
Four Japanese players and one from China are also making the trip, continuing a tradition of the open attracting internationals.
Baulch said the open also incorporated an Australian Money Tournament (AMT) for open-age players for the first time.
He said numbers in the junior sections were down, but the AMT had helped swell the figure to near-record levels.
Many players still eligible for under 16s are instead contesting the AMT hoping to claim a share of the prizemoney on offer.
“I haven’t been game to even think of the weather forecast, but we’ve handled this number before,” Baulch said.
He said Tennis Australia had scheduled another junior tournament in Melbourne at the same time.
“I didn’t recognise too many of the players in Melbourne, so I don’t think it’s upset us too much,” he said.
“It would’ve been nice not to have it, we might’ve got some of those players down. But they’re all playing tennis, which is the main thing.”
Three Warrnambool Lawn Tennis Club members are among the favourites in their grades. Matt Moloney is seeded 11th in the AMT men’s singles, while Jake Dunn is just outside the seedings.
Sophie Drake is seeded eighth in the AMT women’s singles and Harry Boyd is seeded eighth in the 12 and under boys’ singles.