Tasmanian tennis fans have plenty to be excited about as the clock ticks down to the Launceston International.
So often the sole Tasmanian at Launceston Regional Tennis Centre's February tournament, Harry Bourchier appears a realistic chance of going all the way when first round matches start on Monday.
Bourchier has been knocked out by eventual champions Marc Polmans and Lloyd Harris in the last two years, making the second and third rounds after being handed a wildcard entry.
RELATED: Bourchier enters top 300
A career-best 12 months since have yielded four ITF titles, wins over top-100 players and a career-high ATP ranking of 279, giving the 24-year-old Hobartian automatic acceptance to this year's Launceston and Burnie tournaments.
"These are my two favourite tournaments being in my home state," Bourchier said.
"I always look forward to playing here, I've got a lot of friends and family around so it feels like home at both tournaments.
"I definitely have that home feeling vibe and I thoroughly enjoy it - it's probably my favourite two weeks of the year."
Starting off last year ranked 750 in the world, Bourchier strung together successive title wins on clay in Mornington, Victoria before adding two more on hard court in Asia.
The 2010 Pardey Shield winner's 2020 season began with wins over Polmans and world no. 107 Marcos Girons in Bendigo before a second-round exit to Belgium's 2012 junior French Open champion Kimmer Coppejans in Burnie.
Bourchier put his huge rankings rise down to staying fit and healthy for a whole year and has plans to crack the top 200, and even 100, in 2020.
ELSEWHERE IN SPORT
"I've just got to keep improving and this year I feel like I can definitely do better," he said.
"The previous years before that I've just been a little injured so having a full season on the road playing tournaments was great and I had a couple of good results throughout the year which made it better."
Arriving in Launceston on Friday evening, Bourchier will link up with tennis coach James Bolzonello, who joined him in Melbourne for Australian Open qualifying two weeks ago.
Bourchier was knocked out by eventual qualifier Prajnesh Gunneswaran but learned plenty from the experience.
"James has been helping me out the last little bit and he's been great for me," Bourchier said.
"He's been travelling with me a little bit, so I just want to thank him for the work we've done over the last year to get towards my goal."
Bourchier will enjoy a cruisy few days in his home state before getting down to business in the first round.
"I might head out to Festivale [on Saturday] and have a look around there and definitely go the Gorge and have a swim up there.
"There's always lots to do around Launceston and I'll find some good food around."
LAUNCESTON'S PAST WINNERS
- 2019: Lloyd Harris (RSA), Elena Rybakina (KAZ)
- 2018: Marc Polmans (AUS), Gabriella Taylor (GBR)
- 2017: Noah Rubin (USA), Jamie :Loeb (USA)
- 2016: Blake Mott (AUS), Han Xinyun (CHI)
- 2015: Bjorn Fratangelo (USA), Daria Gavrilova (AUS)
- 2014: Olivia Rogowska (AUS)
- 2013: Storm Sanders (AUS)
- 2012: Yulia Putintseva (KAZ)