Southern California Open ATP Challenger Tournaments To Take Place At Indian Wells Tennis Garden

Zachary Svajda (photo: USTA SoCal)

INDIAN WELLS, November 24, 2023 (by Steve Pratt)

USTA Southern California has announced it will host back-to-back Southern California Open ATP Challenger Tour 50 tournaments in January at the famed Indian Wells Tennis Garden in the Coachella Valley.

Together branded the Southern California Open (2 ATP Challenger 50s, 2 weeks, 1 world-class location, 1 brand), the events are a springboard opportunity for aspiring pro players.

The men’s singles and doubles events will take place January 14-21 and January 21-28 and are men’s professional events offering $41,000 in prize money and 50 valuable ATP ranking points to the winner of each of the tournaments.

While the world’s top men’s players like Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz are battling it out Down Under in the season’s first Grand Slam the Australian Open, rising young stars of the ATP with world rankings fin to 100s and 200s will begin their season in the intimate setting of the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, hosts of what many consider tennis’ fifth major the BNP Paribas Open in March.

USTA Southern California is excited to offer these two ladder-up opportunities that continue to strengthen the path and possibility for the players, not only our section but for all American players,” said Trevor Kronemann, Executive Director of USTA SoCal. “This spins off our successful Southern California Pro Series over the last two summers. We are grateful for the Indian Wells staff and their continued support of our endeavor to provide opportunities as our players reach for playing in that event in the near future.”

Nearly all of the current players in the ATP World Tour rankings are graduates of ATP Challenger-level tournaments, including American’s Taylor Fritz (No. 10), Tommy Paul (No. 13), Frances Tiafoe (No. 16) and Ben Shelton (No. 17). Last fall, the 21-year-old Shelton won three straight ATP Challenger Tour events to vault into the world Top 100 and continued his rise up the world rankings advancing to the quarterfinals at the Australian Open and the semifinals at the US Open in 2023. Southern California native Alex Michelsen has also benefited from the ATP Challenger Tour recently winning in Knoxville, Tenn., and advancing to the final in Champaign, Ill., to enter the Top 100.

“If you look at other countries that have successful professional players, like Spain, Italy and France, they all have the commonality of many more lower-level pro tournaments than the USA does,” said Chris Boyer, Vice President of the USTA SoCal Executive Board. “This is one reason why they are seeing the success they do. These tournaments offer critical steps for player development.” 

“We are thrilled to be kicking off the 2024 tennis season hosting these two ATP Challenger Tour 50 events at our world-class facility,” said Jai Nettimi, Director of Tennis at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. “We hope the local Coachella Valley community and tennis fans from all over Southern California will come out and support these up-and-coming players who may be playing here in the coming years at the BNP Paribas Open.”

Admission and parking is free and tennis players and fans are encouraged to come out and support the young generation of ATP players who very well could be among the next generation of top professionals. All matches will also be streamed live during the tournaments. Cathy Jacobson-Guzy has been named tournament director for both events.

The ATP Challenger 50 category has a “top 150” restriction in place, so the event will draw players just outside the 150 cutoff. However, two wild cards are available for players ranked within the top 150.

A pre-qualifying tournament will take place at the Lakewood Tennis Center December 8-11 with the winner receiving a wild card into the qualifying tournament of one of the events to be determined. The registration deadline is December 5 and to register, click HERE. There will be another pre-qualifying opportunity December 29-January 1.

This past summer, USTA successful hosted seven men’s and women’s ITF World Tour SoCal Pro Series $15,000 tournaments offering the “Race to Indian Wells” as Irvine’s Stefan Dostanic and San Diego’s Haley Giavara captured the top men’s and women’s spots in the standings and were awarded qualifying wild cards into this year’s BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells.