The ATP Challenger Tour prides itself in being a springboard for young stars seeking to develop their talent as they chase ranking points, prize money and a chance to make it to the biggest stages of the sport.
A prime example is the latest destination of the globetrotting circuit: Danderyd, Sweden, a municipality north of Stockholm where 18-year-olds Jakub Mensik and Alexander Blockx are among those in the quarter-finals of this week’s Good to Great Challenger.
Next Gen ATP Finals qualifier Flavio Cobolli and last year’s champion of the 21-and-under event, Brandon Nakashima, are also in the last eight of the Challenger 75 event held at the prestigious Good to Great Tennis Academy, spearheaded by Nicklas Kulti, Mikael Tillstrom and tournament director Magnus Norman.
The Danderyd Challenger is the first event in Sweden at that level since 2018 (Bastad), marking the 46th country to host an ATP Challenger Tour tournament this season. Norman hopes they can be a mainstay.
“This is really important for Swedish tennis, this is something that has been needed for many, many years,” Norman told ATPTour.com. “Our goal first and foremost is to establish this Challenger in the calendar so players know during the end of the season, there is a Challenger in Sweden. Our vision is to create and start a few more Challengers in the region.”
The Good to Great Tennis Academy, which has worked with ATP stars such as Stan Wawrinka and Gael Monfils, opened a state-of-the-art facility in 2018 featuring seven indoor courts, five outdoor clay courts, an outdoor hard court, restaurant, performance centre, medical centre and lodging for players.
The organisation and facilities of the Danderyd Challenger make it an attractive event for players.
“Whatever we do, we try and make it good for the players and coaches. So far, we are really happy with the week,” Norman said. “We wanted to make a good week where players can have a great week with a lot of practice courts, balls, towels, everything like that should not be an issue. We have hitting partners on site. What the players and coaches need is to be able to work.
“We have received some good reviews from players because we have three practice courts on site with the exact same surface, a good players lounge, a medical team with physios and massage therapy. We take pride in doing a good tournament. We have had some good help from the ATP 250 event organization in Bastad. The people that run that tournament are helping us here which has helped enormously.”