Former Patriot Challenger Participants Now Starring On Pro Tennis Tour - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/18/07

Former Patriot Challenger Participants Now Starring On Pro Tennis Tour

(AP Photo/Rick Stevens) (AP Photo/Rick Stevens)

The University of Texas at Tyler held a professional tennis tournament five years ago, called the Patriot Challenger. Some of the top, up-and-coming tennis players in the world took part. The organizers of the event said we were watching the future of professional tennis.  They said to keep a close eye on a 21-year-old kid named James Blake.  He was the number two seed in that tournament, eventually losing in the quarterfinals.

Blake is now ranked number five in the world, and advanced to the third round of the Australian Open today by beating Alex Kuznetsov 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.

His third round opponent is Robby Ginepri, who beat German qualifier Mischa Zverev 6-4, 7-5, 6-1.  Ginepri just so happens to have played in that 2001 tournament in Tyler as well. 

In fact, there are 17 tennis players taking part in the Australian Open who played in Tyler five years ago.  10 Tyler alumn are now ranked in the top 100 in the world, while 10 are still alive in the Australian Open in either singles or doubles.

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