McLachlan to feature in home-based league

Ben McLachlan
Ben McLachlan
Queenstown's Ben McLachlan will be one of the stars of a new league beginning next week.

Tennis New Zealand is staging a team tournament for local-based male players from next Wednesday.

All 112 matches of the New Zealand Premier League will be played in Auckland without spectators but will be broadcast live on Sky Sport or the Youtube channel, Sky Sport Next, Tennis New Zealand said yesterday.

Tennis appears to have a start on other sports because physical distancing is quite easy.

"Training without a goal was not possible for professional and competitive athletes," Tennis New Zealand high performance director Christophe Lambert said.

"The New Zealand Premier League offers opportunities for our best players to have a home-based competitive environment so they are ready to jump back in when the pro circuit starts again, but also for our younger players to get the experience needed to perform at the highest level."

Tennis’s top professional tours, the men’s ATP and women’s WTA, have been shut down since early March and any return appears some time off.

New Zealand has no players in the top 500 of the ATP singles rankings so the league will be padded out with doubles specialists, college players and New Zealand-based foreign players.

World No77 Briton Cameron Norrie and New Zealand-born McLachlan, a doubles specialist who switched allegiance to Japan and has played Davis Cup for them, are two of the foreign entrants.

McLachlan has risen up the doubles ranks and been inside the top 50 for a lengthy period.

The event, co-sponsored by Tennis New Zealand and Auckland-based Lavie Tennis Academy, will feature 24 players split into eight teams of three competing over three weeks of round-robin and finals play.

More details are expected later this week.


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