Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Tevlin Challenger Tennis Tournament

This past weekend, I helped out at the Tevlin Challenger Tennis Tournament, held at the Rexall Centre's Compass Centre of Excellence in Toronto. Prior to agreeing to helping out, I honestly did not know too much about this event. Now that I have had the opportunity to learn more about the tournament, here is my chance to share what I have learned about the tournament.

The Tevlin Challenger is a women's tennis tournament that is sanctioned by the International Tennis Federation (ITF). It is classified as a $25,000 tournament, which means that the total prize money (purse) for the tournament is $25,000. It is a 32 player singles main draw tournament, a 32 player singles qualifying draw and a 16 team doubles main draw.

Where does this tournament lie in the tennis hierarchy? The following chart shows the levels of tennis tournaments for women.

WTA Tour Events

  • Grand Slams (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open)
  • Tour Championships
  • Tier I (sub-divided by both prize money and 96, 56 or 32 player singles main draws)
  • Tier II (sub-divided by both prize money and 64 or 32 player singles main draws)
  • Tier III (sub-divided by both prize money and 64 or 32 player singles main draws)
  • Tier IV (32 player main draw)

ITF Pro Events

  • $100,000 (with or without Hospitality, 32 player singles main draw)
  • $75,000 (with or without Hospitality, 32 player singles main draw)
  • $50,000 (with or without Hospitality, 32 player singles main draw)
  • $25,000 (32 player singles main draw)
  • $10,000 (32 player singles main draw)

At first glance, it would be easy to say that this event is quite a step down from the Rogers Cup, which is a Tier I (56 player main draw) event. I wouldn't dispute that at all. However, it was a real eye-opener to see many of these players competing with the hopes of acquiring ranking points to help them move up to the next level of the professional competitive ladder. With the lack of media coverage for these lower tier events, not many people see the plight of players at this level, working up the ranks, attempting to live out their dream of becoming an elite tennis player.

There was a large mix of players at this event, from young juniors to more veteran players. Some of these players even played at the Rogers Cup earlier this year. While there were a lot of Canadians in the qualifying draw, I was especially surprised to see the number of players who came from overseas to play in this event (the entry list can be found here).

One of the duties that I assisted with was driving the players to and from their hotel. This was quite the change from my duties at the Rogers Cup, where I would be co-ordinating various transportation related requests and managing volunteers who do the driving. It was also nice to not have to be in charge for once; just being able to help out was really refreshing. Because of this, I had the opportunity to talk to the players about their experiences. With the common bond of tennis aside, it was nice to see the human aspect of these players. Everybody had their own story to tell, whether it was a first or a repeat visit to Toronto, the joy of participating in tennis camps all around the world, life as professional player after completing college, travel adventures and/or nightmares or even talking about their home city/countries. Who knows what the future holds for these players. Maybe in two years, I hope to see some of these players again at the Rogers Cup.

The Tevlin Challenger was founded by Tevlin family of Toronto as part of a generous $500,000 donation made to Tennis Canada's High Performance Development Strategy in 2005. Qualifying play started on Sunday and concluded on yesterday (Monday). Main draw play will begins on today (Tuesday, November 6) and concludes with the finals on Sunday, November 11. The event is open to the public, with no charge for admission or parking. If you are interested in tennis, you should really consider coming out to watch this event. Matches begin at 10:00 a.m. during the week, 11:00 a.m. on Saturday and the finals will be played at noon on Sunday.

For more information about this event, see the Tennis Canada news article 'Tevlin Challenger to Begin Next Week'.

If you are not in Toronto, take a look at the ITF website to see what tennis tournaments are being held (see the Mens Circuit, Womens Circuit, Juniors, etc). Perhaps there might be one of these tournaments happening in your area.

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