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Wildcards for new event awarded to Kiwis

Wildcards for new event awarded to Kiwis

The four wildcard places in the singles main draw for the US$25,000 Gallagher International Challenger in Hamilton starting this weekend have today all been given to New Zealanders.

Tournament director, David Cashmore announced that the much sought after places would go directly to New Zealand players and would help attract crowds and interest in the event, the first of its kind to be staged in the country for five years.

Kiwi Davis Cup regular, James Greenhalgh will use the wildcard to get him back on the ATP Tour singles rankings. Doubles specialist Greenhalgh, 25 has been playing in challenger events in Asia and has been wanting to kickstart his singles career again.

Last year he won a big doubles title at an event in Hong Kong with Australian partner, Grant Silcock and made the top 100 doubles. He is currently 176th in doubles. Greenhalgh spent a number of years growing up in the Waikato and learnt tennis in the area.

The other three wildcards go to Lee Radovanovich, Teo Susnjak and Mark Thompson all from Auckland.

Thompson, 23 from West Auckland has had a good year in domestic tournaments winning the Canterbury Open over local hero and Davis Cup player Alistair Hunt and was a finalist in the Nelson and Bay of Plenty Opens, each time going down to Hunt in the final. The 23 year old has a ranking around the 700 mark and has worked hard at tournaments around the world. Thompson is also close to joining the Kiwi Davis Cup squad for their tie against Uzbekistan in the former Soviet republic.

Radovanovich who is still only 17 years old is the former New Zealand Junior champ and made the quarterfinals of the singles at the Australian Open Junior tournament last month. Radovanovich is going to use the Hamilton event to start his professional career.

Teo Susnjak gains the last wildcard after winning the singles title at the New Zealand Residentials in December. Susnjak has given up playing on the professional circuit but can still mix it with the best in New Zealand after defeating Thompson in the final of a Super Series event in Auckland over the weekend.

The tournament will be held at the newly refurbished Waikato tennis centre March 18-26 and is headed by Japan's Goichi Motomura at 145. Kiwi No.1 is the seventh seed for the event.

. For further information please contact: Dave Worsley - 021 679 096 or Tournament Director David Cashmore - 021 943 305


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