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Young Tennis Talent Chase Superstar Treatment

Young Tennis Talent Chase Superstar Treatment

By the end of this week the best young tennis talent in the country will be booked to attend January’s ASB Classic (girls) and Heineken Open (boys) with the North and South Island Primary School Finals for the Sovereign Superstars set to take place.

The Sovereign Superstars programme will for the third year send 8 of New Zealand’s very best players to experience life as a touring professional at respective women’s and men’s professional tournaments. This includes a rare opportunity to play on centre court in front of big crowds and live on television. But first the best young girls and boys must fight it out in qualifying to earn an opportunity that players can otherwise only dream about.

The South Canterbury Finance Tennis Centre in Timaru will play host to the South Island Primary and Intermediate Tennis Championships this Wednesday and Thursday, with the winners of the boys and girls titles both booking their tickets for Auckland in early 2008.

The North Island Championships will be played at the Counties Tennis Centre in Pukekohe, also on Wednesday and Thursday this week with the top performing boys and girls from Northern/Auckland, Waikato/Eastern, Wellington/Central each qualifying to rub shoulders with some of the best players in the world at the ASB Classic and Heineken Open.

Sovereign Superstars Ambassador and New Zealand Davis Cup Captain and Tennis NZ Peak Performance Manager James Greenhalgh will mentor the players while in Auckland and also be on hand at the North Island Championships to congratulate those to qualify for the Superstars programme.

The former Junior Grand Slam doubles winner was quick to sign up as Ambassador again this year.

“Last year was my first involvement with the Sovereign Superstars programme but I had no hesitation in stepping up to be a part of a truly innovative programme that makes dreams come true for a select group of young tennis players.

“There is more to this initiative than just plane tickets, hotel rooms and autographs. My experience of last year is that the children gain a valuable insight into what is required to compete on the world stage. The chance for them to rub shoulders with the professional players and better understand their dedication and commitment is a rare chance indeed and will I’m sure stay with them for many years.

“By providing an experience such as this we are contributing to the next generation of our top players, of that I am 100% certain.”

Organisers of the Primary and Intermediate Schools Tournaments say the reputation of the Sovereign Superstars programme is spreading each year, with interest high in the qualifying tournaments and the prize on offer.

“Children that have been lucky enough to win over the past two years certainly spread the word about their experiences in Auckland with the end result being a whole bunch of envious kids aspiring to win the prize next time round.

“We limit the opportunity to just once per child, meaning we will this year take a new group of boys and girls to Auckland. Competition for places is fierce as a result, so expect high quality tennis at both Finals this week,” said Tennis New Zealand Events and Operations Manager Tracy Hall.

Sovereign’s Sponsorship Manager, Richard Allen is delighted at the continued success and growing reputation of the Superstars concept.

"Last year was the first opportunity for me to witness the sheer delight of the children and parents involved in Sovereign Superstars so I can’t wait to welcome a new group of children and watch them play on centre court.

Our focus on health and wellbeing means Sovereign is constantly reinforcing the role that exercise and sport play in keeping New Zealanders active and healthy; and so, encouraging young tennis players to fulfill their potential through the sovereign Superstars programme is one way we can bring this vision to life"

James Greenhalgh will attend the finals of the North Island event and will be available for media interviews and photo opportunities with the winners on Thursday 6th December.

Specific time and details of this opportunity will be confirmed later in the week.

South Island 5-6 December
South Canterbury Finance Tennis Centre, Benevnue Avenue, Timaru

North Island 5-6 December
Counties Tennis Centre, Rosa birch Park, West Street, Pukekohe.

ENDS

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