USTA Pro Circuit Returns to Knoxville
  • 2018 Knoxville Challenger Official Player Acceptance List released, world’s top-ranked professional tennis stars to come to Knoxville
  • USTA $75,000 Challenger benefiting Helen Ross McNabb Center begins Nov. 6

(KNOXVILLE, Tenn.) The Knoxville Challenger, a USTA Pro Circuit event, returns to Knoxville Nov. 6-11 at the University of Tennessee Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center.

The Knoxville Challenger, presented by Pilot Flying J, is the largest professional men’s tennis tournament in our region. The Challenger series is designed to provide opportunities to aspiring, young professional tennis players to advance to the top levels of the game. Players include pros beginning their careers, pros trying to improve their ATP rankings and top-ranked junior players.

The Official Player Acceptance List was released this week. Eight players on the list have held top-100 rankings in the past. At least 15 different countries are represented in this tournament. The top-ranked player, Marcel Granollers (ESP), was ranked as high as #19 in the world in singles and #4 in doubles. In 2014, the Spaniard reached the doubles final of both the US Open and French Open.

Other notable entries, include:

Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS): Kokkinakis is a rising young star who is coming back from injuries. He beat Roger Federer this year in the second round of the Miami Open.

Jared Donaldson (USA): Donaldson cracked the top-50 in the world earlier this year before falling back after some close losses.

2016 Knoxville Challenger champion, Michael Mmoh (USA), returns this year after winning back-to-back Challenger events and beating two players ranked in the top-40.

The top-22 players on the player acceptance list get direct entry into the main draw. Four additional wild cards will be selected, two by the tournament director and two rising young Americans selected by the USTA. The four semifinalists from the qualifying tournament will also earn spots in the main draw.  

By participating in events like the Knoxville Challenger, players from the USTA Pro Circuit rise to a level of prominence on the major tour. These professionals compete for a total purse of $75,000 in prize money and for valuable ATP ranking points. Many of the top-ranked American players, as well as many international stars, have competed in the Knoxville Challenger as they climbed the world rankings. More than 30 professionals playing in the 2015 US Open previously competed in the Knoxville Challenger.

For the tournament schedule and ticket information, visit

The Knoxville Challenger benefits the Helen Ross McNabb Center, a regional not-for-profit provider of behavioral health care in East Tennessee, while also inspiring and entertaining new and seasoned lovers of the sport. The event is held every year in memory of Harry W. Stowers. His life, work, commitment and passion for the Helen Ross McNabb Center were of significant benefit to our entire community.

USTA Pro Circuit
With approximately 90 tournaments hosted annually throughout the country and prize money ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, the USTA Pro Circuit is the pathway to the US Open and tour-level competition for aspiring tennis players and a frequent battleground for established professionals. The USTA launched its Pro Circuit 37 years ago to provide players with the opportunity to gain professional ranking points, and it has since grown to become the largest developmental tennis circuit in the world, offering nearly $3 million in prize money. Last year, more than 1,000 men and women from more than 70 countries competed in cities nationwide. John Isner, Maria Sharapova, Sam Querrey, Sloane Stephens, Kei Nishikori, Victoria Azarenka and Andy Murray are among today’s top stars who began their careers on the USTA Pro Circuit.

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