Americans Frances Tiafoe, Noah Rubin, Tim Smyczek, Stefan Kozlov, Michael Mmoh, Dennis Novakov, Mitchell Kruger, Denis Kudla, and Tennys Sandgren were announced this week among the main draw acceptances for the 18th annual Tallahassee Tennis Challenger, a USTA Pro Circuit event, to be held at the Forestmeadows Athletic Center in Tallahassee, Fla., on April 24-29, 2017.
Also among the main draw acceptances are former tour regulars Jurgen Melzer of Austria and Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer, and Canadian Davis Cup players Denis Shapalova and Peter Polansky.
“Very pleased with the entry list — the first 22 players in the main draw of the Tallahassee Tennis Challenger,” Tournament Director Karen Vogter told USTA Florida. “The field is a strong one and we are going to have a lot of fantastic tennis to watch during the week. We are extremely excited to see that Jurgen Melzer, former No. 8 in the world, is in the field along with some of the very best young Americans playing today. What an opportunity for tennis fans near Tallahassee to see great tennis up close and personal.”
Tiafoe at No. 89 on the ATP World Tour Rankings as of April 3 would be the projected tournament top seed. Four wild cards for the main draw have yet to be named.
New in 2017, the tournament has increased total prize money from $50,000 to $75,000. The field for the challenger will feature 32 singles players and 16 doubles teams. The tournament is also part of the USTA’s 2017 Roland Garros Wild Card Challenge, which awards a men’s and women’s wild card for the French Open.
The Tallahassee Tennis Challenger continues to be a Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare Foundation Project for the 13th year. Proceeds from the tournament benefit the Vogter Neuro-Intensive Care Unit which cares for patients of all ages who suffer neurological trauma or require surgical intervention for life-threatening illnesses. In 2016 the net proceeds were again donated to the D. Mark Vogter Memorial Endowment making the total contribution to the endowment over $700,000 for the last 18 years. In 2010 a new endowment named the Maria Yealdhall Challenger Tennis Fund was established with the Tallahassee Friends of Our Parks Foundation. Contributions from ticket sales are donated each year and are used to assist in tennis related projects and programs throughout the city. The first improvement for the Tallahassee tennis community from the endowment was at the Winthrop Park city courts where four shade structures were installed on the courts.
Past Tallahassee Tennis Challenger singles champions include Robby Ginepri (2014), Donald Young (2011), John Isner (2009), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (2007) and Mardy Fish (2006).
With approximately 90 tournaments hosted annually throughout the country and prize money ranging from $15,000-$125,000, the USTA Pro Circuit is the pathway to the US Open and tour-level competition for aspiring tennis players and a frequent battleground for established professionals.
For more info on this year’s Tallahassee Tennis Challenger go to https://tallahasseechallenger.com.