ATP Challenger Tour:
Surbiton 125, England:
The grass season begins just outside of London, and Surbiton is a place where Aussies have done fairly well in the past.
Jordan Thompson is the reigning champion, with Matthew Ebden and Wayne Arthurs on the board as past champions.
Thompson is back to defend his title, and will be joined by Chris O’Connell, Rinky Hijikata, Aleksandar Vukic, Jason Kubler, Alexei Popyrin, Luke Saville (Q) and James McCabe (LL) Popyrin and Saville play each other in the first round.
Dan Evans will take the top seeded position, where he will play the Aussie McCabe.
Heilbronn 125, Germany:
One of the great events on the Challenger calendar, Heilbronn took out the Challenger of the year title, 3 years running, pre-Covid. Reigning champion, Daniel Altmeier, won’t be defending his title this year, after coming off a 3rd round performance in Paris.
However, the field is strong, including Dominic Thiem, who is looking to build more confidence at the lower tier. Other top 100 players include Marco Cecchinato as the top seed who will play Aussie Akira Santillan who has come through qualifying, Jaume Munar, and Daniel Elahi Galan.
Prostejov 100, Czech Republic:
One of the longest running events on the calendar, Prostejov celebratse its 30th edition this year. Although the list of winners is primarily European and South American clay-courters, Australia’s own Rochard Fromberg went back to back here in 1998/99.
No Aussies this year, but the odds are, that a hometown player will win the title for a 13th time, with top seed Jiri Lehecka the only top 50 player in the field. He will be challenged by players such as Federico Coria, and Facundo Bagnis, but it’s a big chance for Jiri to win his second Challenger title on home soil.
Tyler 75, USA
A quartet of Aussies are competing in this event, with Marc Polmans and Alex Bolt already first round winners, joined by qualifiers Dane Sweeny and Adam Walton. American Michael Mmoh is the top seed.
Makarska 125, Croatia:
Rising young Czech Linda Noskova is the top seed with Italy's Jasmine Paolini as the 2nd seed.
La Bisbal D'emporda 125, Spain:
Spain's Rebeka Masarova is the top seed with Switzerlands Jill Tecihmann as the 2nd seed.
W100 Surbiton, England:
The women are also back on the grass in Surbiton, with quite a nice field assembled, including Australians, Kimberly Birrell, Olivia Gadecki, Priscilla Hon and Maddison Inglis (Q)
German, Tatjana Maria will be the highest ranked player, at 67, but there is plenty of depth here, including Americans, Madison Brengle and Alison Riske. Add some hometown players, Jodie Anna Burrage, Katie Boulter, Harriet Dart, Katie Swan, and Heather Watson, and it should be a really exciting week for the opening of the grass season.
W60 Caserta, Italy:
Not everyone is rushing to move across to grass though, with plenty of clay court events still taking place. In Italy, Kaia Kanepi will be the sole top 100 player, and is no doubt looking to find some form, and valuable points. She is 5-13 this year, and will be in danger of slipping outside the top 100 soon.
Australian, Astra Sharma has been winning a few matches of late, reaching a QF, and SF in her last two events, and will be hoping that form continues into June.
As always, there are lots of other Aussies playing at ITF 25K, 15K level and Junior level. Follow us on Twitter all through the week for the latest daily scores.