QUEENSLANDER Jason Kubler has had a week to remember, taking out the final of the inaugural City of Playford Tennis International just hours after receiving the news he’d received a wildcard into the Australian Open.
In Sunday’s final, Kubler defeated Canadian Brayden Schnur 6-4, 6-2 on the way to becoming the first men’s singles champion at the new tournament.
The 24-year-old showed great form all week, failing to drop a single set on his way to victory.
After the final, Kubler said he “enjoyed” his time in Playford and felt the week-long tournament was a necessary stepping-stone on the path to bigger things for him in 2018.
“It’s been a great week here in Playford, I’d never been here before and I’ve really enjoyed my time at this tournament,” he said.
“Winning this tournament should really consolidate my ranking as I continue throughout 2018.
“My aim from here is to push on to other tournaments and really crack the European and US tours in the lead-up to the other three grand slams of the year, where you really want to test yourself.”
Kubler, a former world number-one junior player, will now begin preparation for the Australian Open, in Melbourne, beginning on January 15, with a hope of further climbing the rankings after a few injury-riddled years.
On the women’s side of the draw, Victorian Zoe Hives became the tournament’s first women’s champion after a gruelling two hour and 41 minute marathon match with fellow Aussie Alexandra Bozovic.
Hives, 21, took the first set 6-4 before Bozovic fought back to take a tight second set 7-5.
A tie-break was required to split the pair in the third, with Hives coming out on top 7-4 in the decider to secure victory.
“It’s been such a strong tournament and just a really great experience for me,” Hives said.
“The fact that I won it…it hasn’t, really, sunk in yet.”
Hives was full of praise for Playford Council’s new $8.9 million tennis centre, which hosted tournament players from all over the world throughout the week.
“The courts are really nice here,” she said.
“It’s always good to have a hit on some of the newer facilities and the clubhouse here is also really great. I’ve certainly played at worse venues.”