The Cleveland Challenger: The Reality of the ATP Tour
Am I at a pro tournament or a country club? It's actual a little bit of both. With members walking around in towels and robes, the future of the ATP gets ready to make its mark on tour. This tournament has really opened my eyes to the reality of what players go through on tour. It's not all big lights and fancy sponsors. Most of these players are scrapping the bottom of their bank accounts to make it to these level of tournaments for the possibility of making more money.
As much as I love listening to what players talk about during their downtime, I like to experience what it is like to be in their shoes. Traveling to these small tournaments and seeing the types of players that show up explains a lot. On one end, you have recent college recruits that are playing during their offseason and on the other, you have seasoned veterans looking to stay relevant on tour.
Tournaments of this size should be recognized. These tournaments mean a lot to the players and should mean a lot to tennis fans as well. You don't always need to see players inside of the Top 10 to enjoy the game of tennis. The one seed in this tournament isn't even in the Top 100 and is still better than most tennis players out there. Tennis fans need to come to these Challengers and should see how good these players really are!