Tennis Australia announces pro series

Darren Walton
Chris O'Connell will headline the Sydney action in Tennis Australia's new domestic pro series

Novak Djokovic's Adria Tour debacle has not stopped Tennis Australia from pressing ahead with a new domestic series starting this weekend.

Australia's pro tennis players will have the opportunity to compete for $450,000 in prize money during tournament stops around the country.

The UTR Pro Tennis Series begins in Sydney on Saturday 27 June, with Brisbane and Melbourne competitions getting underway on Monday.

Adelaide and Perth will also feature, though world No.1 Ashleigh Barty has all but ruled herself out.

"At this stage I won't be taking part in the UTR Pro Series as my team and I continue to focus on my training," Barty said on Wednesday.

"It's great there is an opportunity for Aussies to get back out there and I wish all the competing players the best for the event."

Fresh off a phenomenal 2019 season in which he rose from outside the world's top 1000 to the cusp of the top 100, Chris O'Connell will headline the action in Sydney.

Former US Open champion Samantha Stosur and Fed Cup teammate Daria Gavrilova are likely to play in Melbourne.

"With so much of the tennis season still uncertain, our aim through the UTR Pro Tennis Series is to give as many of our athletes the chance to compete and, importantly, also earn prize money, after months of not being able to make their living playing the sport they have devoted their lives to," TA chief Craig Tiley said on Wednesday.

"Our team has put an enormous amount of time and effort into the planning of these events, and have worked closely with the authorities and tennis staff around the country on the ground to ensure they are run according to strict local biosecurity protocols."

The first phase of the UTR Pro Tennis Series will run until August, with the possibility of extending further depending on the resumption of the global tours.

Well before Djokovic tested positive to coronavirus on Tuesday following his charity event in Croatia, UTR Pro Series organisers worked closely within government guidelines in each state to ensure physical distancing rules are in place, along with additional hygiene and safety precautions.

On-court personnel will be limited, with a chair umpire, minimal lines-people and no ballkids, while players must bring their own towels.