Wollongong is set to play a key role in a revamped state tennis series.
The Tennis NSW Super Series launches at Beaton Park on Sunday and will showcase the new Universal Tennis Ranking system. The tournament is open to juniors and some senior players.
As the current Australian rankings system remains suspended due to COVID-19, Tennis NSW chief executive officer Lawrence Robertson said it was a great opportunity to "put an alternative option on the table".
"Our traditional system is a ranking basis. With the Super Series, we're looking to run on a ratings basis," Robertson said.
"The series will be powered by UTR, which is effectively similar to a golf handicap. A player gets a rating between zero and 16. The UTR allows us to place players in groups closely aligned with their ability and the concept is we should have more competitive matches, so they enjoy it and want to come back and play more. We're looking forward to getting it off the ground and hearing back from players about what they've found has been positive about this new format."
The concept is we should have more competitive matches, so they enjoy it and want to come back and play more.Lawrence Robertson
Robertson said Wollongong was the ideal place to launch the tournament.
"It's one of our more prominent venues. It's easy to get there and the team at the centre there always put on a good show," he said.
While most sports have been hit hard by the impact of COVID-19 this year, tennis has been able to buck that trend and has even flourished across NSW.
"Maybe putting aside one week where things were at their harshest, we've been able to continue. We had singles play whilst everyone else was in lockdown, and court hire across our state has gone through the roof," Robertson said.
"People have been leaning towards tennis because it's one of the few sports where you can physically distance, so tennis as a result has seen an up rise in participation numbers. I think golf has done the same. With competitive play coming back, we're looking at ways in which we can retain players who have come back to tennis, or tried it for the first time and are enjoying it."
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