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Stockton Hosts Top Tennis Prospects At Challenger Tournament

Rich Ibarra / Capital Public Radio

Action on the courts at the Eve Zimmerman Tennis Center at University of the Pacific for the Men's Challenger Tournament.

Rich Ibarra / Capital Public Radio

This week Stockton is playing to host to the $100,000 Men’s Challenger tournament, with some of the top up-and-coming tennis players in the world.

Here a 100 mile-an-hour serve would be on the slow side, and the action is faster when compared to seeing it on TV.

At the University of the Pacific, the tennis courts echo with the sound of balls hit, squeaking shoes, and grunts from players. Morten Christiansen admires the game from just a dozen feet away.

“Nice to watch the tennis tournament and see some of the top players in the world this close and you can really experience the speed of the game,” Christiansen said.

Players have focused not only the prize money but the chance to jump up in the rankings.

Among the competitors are seven American players, including one of the top juniors in the nation, 16-year old Jenson Brooksby of Sacramento, and Mackenzie MacDonald, a former 3-time college All-American.

Bernardo Oliveira, who is on the UOP tennis team, is also competing and celebrated a first-round victory in the qualifier.

“We always think about playing tennis after we graduate so it’s always good to see where we’re at in terms of the pros,” Oliveira said.

The week-long tournament has 32 players vying for a singles title and 16 doubles teams.

Tournament Director Mike Erwin said a lot of the players competed in the U.S. Open this year and for Stockton, this is a major event.

“We’re able to partner with local restaurants and vendors for shirts, for meals," Erwin said. I think the overall impact economically is huge for the city and us.”

The tournament continues through Sunday.

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