The ATP Challenger Tour, known until the end of 2008 as the ATP Challenger Series, is a series of international men's professional tennis tournaments that allow players to win enough ranking points to earn an entry into an ATP-level (usually 250 Series tournaments) main draw or qualifying draw. They are fully administered by the Association of Tennis Professionals.
The first challenger events held on what was the equivalent of today's ATP Tour took place in 1978. Eighteen events were held in that year in total. Two were held on the week beginning January 8th, one in Auckland and another in Hobart. The next events were held one at a time beginning June 18th and ending August 18th in the following locations, in order: Shreveport, Birmingham, Alabama, Asheville, Raleigh, Hilton Head, Virginia Beach, Wall, New Jersey, Cape Cod, and Lancaster, PA.
Events continued after a one-month hiatus with two begun September 24th and 25th, one in Tinton Falls, New Jersey and in Lincoln, Nebraska respectively. The following week saw one event played, in Salt Lake City, then two played simultaneously in Tel Aviv and San Ramon, CA, then one played the following week in Pasadena. A final event was played a month later in Kyoto. Compare this schedule to the one for 2008 that saw 178 events played in more than 40 countries.
Challenger tournaments offer total prize money ranging from $25,000 up to $150,000, which, along with whether the tournament provides hospitality (food and lodging) to the players, determines the number of points a player gets for winning each match in the tournament.
Hospitality bumps the points distribution up one level, and the points to the overall winner range from 50 points for a $25K tournament to 100 points for $150K with Hospitality, in contrast of ATP-level tournaments, which offer total prize money from $400K to over $6 Million and points to the overall winners from 250 to 2000.
As a point of reference, player rankings are based on points accumulated in the previous 52 weeks, and in any given week of rankings, a player who has earned 400 points in the last 52 weeks would be ranked around the 100th position. 200 points would get him a ranking near 200th, while with 100 points he would get to about the 350th, and 50 points would put him close to the 500th. So rankings points earned in Challengers can help a player to move up in the rankings quickly.
Players have usually had success at the Futures tournaments of the ATP Tour before competing in Challengers. Due to the lower level of points and money available at the Challenger level, most players in a Challenger have a world ranking of 100 to 500 for a $25K tournament and 50 to 250 for a $150K tournament.
An exception happens during the second week of a Grand Slam tournament, when top-100 players who have already lost in the Slam try to take a wild card entry into a Challenger tournament beginning that second week.
In February 2007, Tretorn became the official ball of the Challenger Series, and the sponsor of a new series consisting of those Challenger tournaments with prize money of $100,000 or more.
|TS+||Intersport Heilbronn Open||Hard (Indoor)||Talheim||Europe|
|TS+||KGHM Dialog Polish Indoors||Hard (Indoor)||Wroclaw||Europe|
|TS+||GEMAX Open||Hard (Indoor)||Belgrade||Europe|
|TS+||Internazionali di Bergamo||Hard (Indoor)||Bergamo||Europe|
|TS+||Israel Open||TBD||Ramat Hasharon||Asia|
|TS+||Euro Sporting Challenger||Clay||Cordenons||Europe|
|TS+||Open Diputación||Hard (Outdoor)||Pozoblanco||Europe|
|TS+||San Marino CEPU Open||Clay||San Marino||Europe|
|TS+||Open Castilla y León||Hard (Outdoor)||El Espinar||Europe|
|TS+||Ethias Trophy||Hard (Indoor)||Mons||Europe|
|TS+||Samsung Securities Cup||Hard (Outdoor)||Seoul||Asia|
|TS+||Flea Market Cup Busan Challenger Tennis||Hard (Outdoor)||Busan||Asia|
|TS+||Tatra Banka Slovak Open||Hard (Indoor)||Bratislava||Europe|
|TS+||PEOPLEnet Cup||Hard (Indoor)||Dnepropetrovsk||Europe|
See also 2008 ATP Challenger Series
See also 2009 ATP Challenger Tour