Second Largest Pro Challenger Tennis Tournament in Canada – Winnipeg National Bank Challenger, comes to Winnipeg in July
WINNIPEG, MB – Would you have guessed that the second largest professional Challenger tennis tournament in Canada would be held in Winnipeg? Polar Tennis Management, a local tennis promotional group, has secured a combined ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) Challenger and ITF (International Tennis Federation) tennis tournament for men and women at the Winnipeg Lawn Tennis Club (WLTC) this July.
The men’s tournament, previously a $15,000 Futures event, has been held in Winnipeg for four years. With the upgrade in status, it now joins the women’s side as a “Challenger” event which increases the quality of players participating and the purse to $75K for men and $25K for women. Players ranked anywhere from 45 to 200 in the world are expected to make the stop in Winnipeg.
“Tennis Canada along with the ATP and the ITF presented our group with an incredible opportunity, one that we could not pass on. Our city will see some of the world’s finest players showcasing their skills during the nine day event” said Mark Arndt, tournament founder and Executive Director of Tennis Manitoba.
The tournament is sanctioned by the ATP and ITF and supported by Tennis Canada. A Challenger Event is one level below ATP and WTA Tour events, such as Rogers Cup in Toronto and Montreal, and represents players on the verge of breaking into that highest level of tennis. Tournament alumni have gone on to play in all of the majors – Wimbledon, US Open, French Open and most recently, the 2016 Australian Open, where Winnipeg’s 2013 women’s champion, Johanna Konta of Great Britain lost in the semi finals to the eventual champion.
“We are thrilled that these events in Winnipeg are growing both in size and status”, said Gavin Ziv, vice-president of professional and national events, Tennis Canada. “Our mandate is to grow the sport of tennis across the country. Events like this help us achieve our goals as they give fans exposure to the sport at an elite level and they also provide Canadian players with an additional playing opportunity on home soil to hone their skills and develop into future champions”
“As the major partner of Tennis Canada, National Bank witnessed firsthand the growing number of tennis enthusiasts in Winnipeg last year. Upgrading the men’s tournament complements an already impressive women’s Challenger roster. The Bank is proud to team up with Polar Tennis Management and many other partners to offer this coming summer a sporting event that has a direct impact on the region’s socio-economic development” explained Jon Kilfoyle, Vice-President and Regional Manager, Prairies at National Bank Financial.
The City of Winnipeg has supported the event since its inception. “Congratulations on bringing this tournament to Winnipeg” said Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman. “Winnipeg is ready to show tennis fans we are a world class city, and we are looking forward to hosting you. This tournament will continue the momentum from hosting the Grey Cup last year, and will continue right through with hosting the Canada Summer Games in 2017”.
The tournament has grown in both size and support since its inaugural year in 2012. It is the second largest combined Challenger tournament in Canada after the Granby Challenger in Quebec. The tournament will run from July 9 – 17 at Winnipeg Lawn Tennis Club and will include many activities including a Pro-Am and a Kids’ Day.