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Young Stars for ASB Classic And Heineken Open

Media Release
14 December, 2005

Young Stars Announced to Play on Centre Court During the ASB Classic And Heineken Open

Auckland Tennis today announced nine of New Zealand’s most promising young tennis players will get their first taste of playing at a professional tournament during this year’s ASB Classic and Heineken Open.

The 12 and 13 year olds make up the inaugural Sovereign Superstars, and include Sean Berman, who is one of the top ranking players in the world for his age group. The five boys and four girls are all members of a national team that represents New Zealand. They were invited by Sovereign to play in front of capacity crowds of around 3200 spectators in a round robin-style event at both tournaments in the New Year.

It is the first time players this age have played on centre court at the ASB Tennis Centre and ASB Classic tournament director, Richard Palmer, says it will give the talented youngsters an extraordinary experience.

“We’re delighted to be able to help foster promising young tennis players in such a high-profile way. The Sovereign Superstars come from all around New Zealand, and are some of our elite young players. We expect they’ll deliver a series of fast-paced, polished matches which will be stunning to watch.”

Sovereign Managing Director Barbara Chapman, says the aim of the initiative is to support youth in tennis and inspire other young tennis fans to pick up a racquet and give it a go.

“Like the professionals taking part in the ASB Classic and Heineken Open, the Sovereign Superstars will be given a full tournament experience. Their names will appear on the scoreboards for their matches, they will run onto centre court through the players’ tunnel, they get to attend a media conference post-match, and they’ll be meeting their tennis heroes from the local and international circuit face to face. We hope they pick up plenty of tips to further their own game as they watch the international players in action.

“This is Sovereign’s first year supporting both the ASB Classic and Heineken Open, and we would love it if some of these players went on to become the next Chris Lewis or Marina Erakovic.”

Richard Palmer says each of the Sovereign Superstars have been training in earnest since accepting their invitation.

“They’re all extremely excited, as are their families, coaches and clubs they play for. They will get to meet some of their tennis idols, watch them play live, and get a taste of centre court action themselves. It’ll be a real highlight of their young careers.”

The 2006 Sovereign Superstars are:

Girls (Playing at the ASB Classic Monday 2nd and Tuesday 3rd January)
Briar Preston North Harbour Mairangi Bay
Leela Beattie Canterbury Burwood Park
Heidi Stewart Bay of Plenty Tauranga Lawn
Kataraina Hunia Auckland Papatoetoe

Boys (Playing at the Heineken Open, Monday 9th and Tuesday 10th January)
Sean Berman Auckland (no club at present)
Jamie Yates Bay of Plenty Tauranga Lawn
Richard Hornby Canterbury Fendalton
Joshua White Bay of Plenty Otumoetai
Anton Bettink North Harbour Northcote


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