Professional men's tennis players who are just on the outside of playing in regular Grand Slam pro tennis events will be in Tulsa for the $50,000 Challenger of Oklahoma starting Monday.
Philcrest Hills will host the annual event with a field of 32 singles players.
"I probably have the best draw I've ever had," said tournament director Russell Warner.
The United States Tennis Association tournament will conclude on Sunday. The singles finals are set for noon Sunday. The doubles championship is scheduled for Saturday at a time to be determined.
Bobby Reynolds, who won the 2010 event, and former champion Jesse Witten highlight the scheduled players for the singles bracket.
The tournament normally draws players ranked above 100, but former Stanford player Sam Querry, who is No. 88, will join the fray. Querry has been injured, but is making a comeback this season. Michael Russell, ranked No. 95, is planning to play as well.
Jack Sock will compete, too. The Nebraska native was ranked No. 500, but got into the 2011 U.S. Open in New York, losing to Andy Roddick in the second round.
The Challenger of Oklahoma has a rich history of participants. The list of past players includes Tulsan David Martin; Todd Martin; Mardy Fish; doubles sensations Bob and Mike Bryan; John Isner, who played the longest match in Wimbledon singles history two years ago; Donald Young; Jan-Michael Gambill; Taylor Dent; James Blake; Vincent Spadea; Xavier Malisse and Tommy Haas.
"The road to next year's U.S. Open starts in Tulsa," Warner said. "The USTA Challenger of Oklahoma continues to bring world-class tennis to the state of Oklahoma."
Points earned with a high finish in a Challenger event go a long way to inching up the Association of Tennis Professionals rankings. The higher the ranking, the better tournaments players can enter.
The USTA has awarded Philcrest the Challenger series from 1999-02 and 2004-11.
Admission for the tournament is free with a drop-off area for donations (non-perishable items) for the Day Center for the Homeless and Youth at Heart.
SUBHEAD: The Philcrest Hills event will feature players ranked in the top 100.
Original Print Headline: USTA Challenger event kicks off Monday