Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Good News for Tennis Fans; Challenger Event Back at Caloundra

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Good News for Tennis Fans; Challenger Event Back at Caloundra

Article excerpt

TENNIS and golf have plenty in common.

They are both individual sports, where the best players are usually those who start learning and competing at a young age.

They then have the chance of making a career out of their chosen pursuit, and can earn millions of dollars if they are physically and mentally good enough.

They both have four C[pounds sterling]majorsC[yen] a year, they both have world rankings lists and they are both sports where Australia has had champions whose names have been known worldwide.

But on the Sunshine Coast they are not so close.

The Coast has struggled to produce talented tennis juniors who have gone on to establish professional careers.

That is unlike golf, where there have been more than a handful of pros making a living off their sport over the past decade.

And while golf has had the $1.5 million Australian PGA at Hyatt Coolum for nine years, tennis has had an intermittent mix of men's and women's pro events, mostly at Kawana Tennis Club.

So it is great news that back on the ATP's Challenger Tour schedule next week is a $50,000 men's tournament at the Caloundra Tennis Club, which, only a few years ago, had dreams of becoming a tennis centre with good enough facilities to host a Davis Cup tie.

The tournament, which will start next Monday, gives Caloundra something in common with Bergamo, in Italy, and Quimper, in France, for seven days. All three will be hosting Challenger events, a level below the main ATP Tour, at the same time.

The winner at Caloundra will bank $7200, only a third of what a first-round loser at the Australian Open received.

More important than the money they can win will be the ATP rankings points on the line, including 80 for the winner and 48 for the runner-up.

It's that desperate battle for points, and an improved world ranking, that ensures these tournaments, for those who earn a start, are treated as seriously as a grand slam. …

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