A host of international players are in action at the Tarka Tennis Centre next week, competing in the GB Pro-Series men’s $15k event, which takes place on the indoor hard courts from Sunday, September 23-29.
The list of entries is headed up by Manuel Guinard, who will be appearing at this popular event for the first time. The 22-year-old from France will arrive in North Devon with a career high world ranking, having recently won a title in Rotterdam, on the back of a title in Bosnia/Herzegovinia earlier this year.
Guinard will be joined by another top 500 player Francesco Vilardo, the Italian being a regular visitor to compete in Great Britain.
The highest ranked Brit is Finn Bass, who is currently based at the Soto Academy in southern Spain, but has strong links with the Somerset area.
Fellow Brit Neil Pauffley also joins the line-up. The popular and familiar visitor to the event won the doubles title last year (with Peter Bothwell), and in 2016 captured the singles title in a hard-fought and entertaining final against 2012 Wimbledon Doubles champion Freddie Nielsen.
Two of Britain’s top juniors, Aidan McHugh and Anton Matusevich, will also be in action. Both players have just returned from competing in the US Open junior event, where 17-year-old Matusevich won the doubles title. It was last year in Barnstaple that as a 16-year-old, Matusevich qualified then reached the quarter-final of the men’s singles, to gain his first ATP world ranking.
McHugh, who is mentored by Andy Murray, reached the semi-final of the Australian Open junior singles at the start of the year, and is now looking to improve on his current career high professional ranking
The draw in Barnstaple will see players in action from France, Australia, Italy, Reunion Island, Holland, Spain, USA, Lithuania, Russia, Austria, Belgium and Ireland, all vying for the title.
Tournament director, Richard Joyner, said: “This is a great opportunity to see some potential future stars in action. There’s a great blend of up-and-coming juniors looking to make their mark on the professional game, together with some more seasoned campaigners.
“All of the current men’s world top 10 will have sharpened their skills at this level, on their way to the top echelon of the sport.”
Joyner added: “The atmosphere at Barnstaple is always very good. Everyone is so pro-active in their support of the event, which together with the facilities make it such a great week for the player’s and everyone involved.”
Tarka’s director of tennis Chris Gill said: “We are always delighted to host this event, and it also provides a great opportunity for our up and coming young players to come here to watch some high level tennis in Barnstaple.”
When does the action take place?
Men’s qualifying for the GB Pro-Series Barnstaple takes place on Sunday and Monday, with the main draw taking place from Tuesday to Saturday September. The men’s singles and doubles final are both scheduled for Saturday (September 29).
Entry for spectators is free of charge for the qualifying event. For main draw ticket information contact Tarka Tennis Centre on 01271 377701 or go to www.tarkatennis.net
As well as coming along to watch, you can also follow the scores through live scoring at www.lta.org.uk/gbps