Photo : Martin Sidorjak
After holding a sold-out event in 2020, the Calgary National Bank Challenger returns for a third edition beginning this weekend that will be bigger than ever. That’s because the tournament will host a $60,000 ITF World Tennis Tour women’s event in conjunction with the usual ATP Challenger Tour stop, making it the only combined professional indoor tennis tournament in Canada.
The addition of the women’s event was made possible by a generous donation from Calgarian Robert Rivard and his family. Rivard, a retired lawyer, is a keen tennis player and supporter of the Alberta tennis community.
To celebrate its welcomed upgrade, the Calgary National Bank Challenger will welcome a star-studded player field to the OSTEN & VICTOR Alberta Tennis Centre. The biggest headliners are Canadians Eugenie Bouchard and Vasek Pospisil. Bouchard, a former WTA world no. 5 and Wimbledon finalist, returned to the tour this summer after recovering from shoulder surgery which kept her sidelined for over a year. One of the most popular players of her generation, Bouchard’s comeback has been a success so as she begins her quest back to the top of the women’s game and she’ll look to finish her 2022 campaign strong while also building momentum heading into the 2023 season.
“I’m looking forward to playing at the Calgary National Bank Challenger. I always enjoy playing at home in front of my Canadian tennis fans. I heard a lot of great things about the Calgary event, and I am looking forward to having a strong finish to my year,” Bouchard said.
Pospisil is so no stranger to playing Canadian ATP Challenger events and usually makes the most of the crowd support he receives everywhere he goes north of the border. The 32-year-old also missed a good chunk of time this year with an injury and recently played an important role in Canada’s qualification for the upcoming Davis Cup Finals in Malaga, Spain.
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Bouchard and Pospisil will be joined by their compatriots Gabriel Diallo, Alexis Galarneau and Katherine Sebov, who reached the final at the Saguenay National Bank Challenger a few weeks ago. Familiar names like former world no. 12 Sabine Lisicki of Germany and five top 200 players on the ATP Tour, led by world no. 107 Emilio Gomez of Ecuador, will also be taking part in the festivities. Local talent will also be on display with Calgary’s Alexia Jacobs competing in her first professional event, while fellow Calgarian Cleeve Harper will compete in the men’s draw. Harper was crowned the 2022 NCAA doubles champion.
The last time the tournament was held two years ago, current world no. 51 Arthur Rinderknech of France was crowned champion after defeating American Maxime Cressy, now ranked no. 34, in the final.
A World-Class Facility
The Calgary Challenger has quickly gained a reputation as one of the premier sporting events in Alberta and one of the best ATP Challenger tournament events in the world thanks in large part to the first-rate amenities offered by its home, the state-of-the-art OSTEN & VICTOR Alberta Tennis Centre.
Opened in 2016, it is one of the country’s premier tennis facilities, championed by local funders with the support of Tennis Canada. Located in the heart of the Acadia neighbourhood, it covers 71,000 square feet, over 3.19 acres and is built to international competition standards. It has quickly established itself as the benchmark for facility design and operation in Canada.
Most importantly, it has been anxiously waiting to welcome back some of the best emerging talents in the world for another memorable week of tennis that will catapult some players to new heights as they attempt to attain the upper echelon of the game.