I’ve just been alerted by our friends at Tennis Panorama that the Sunrise Challenger event in South Florida is no more. At least, it’s no more for this year anyway. According to an article in the Sun-Sentinel, the seven-year-old $125,ooo tourney will not be returning in 2011 due to a lack of sponsors, even though its main sponsor BMW was set to come back.
The tournament was largely seen as a “super-challenger” that blurred the line between the ATP Tour and the Challenger Tour, with one of the most competitive fields of any event (due mainly to Indian Wells main draw first-week castaways coming to Florida early to get match practice for the Sony Ericcson Masters event in Key Biscayne). Two years ago, a certain feller by the name of Robin Soderling beat some guy named Tomas Berdych in the final. Last year, Florian Mayer took the title match 6-4 6-4 over Gilles Simon.
But just because it’s going away this year, “that doesn’t mean we won’t try to host it here or somewhere else next year,” said tournament director Gabe Norona.
Well, that’s certainly all well and good. But this makes my decision to drive down to Florida on Wednesday to cover challenger and futures tournaments in South Florida seem a tad less viable than it once did, I must say. Well, that and the big blizzard that’s scheduled to get here on Tuesday night.
Although I have to add, upon further reflection, that I won’t miss the Biebermania-esque screaming of middle school girls that occurred all throughout last year’s Santiago Giraldo-Benjamin Becker quarterfinal. Maybe my ears do need another year to rest. Naaah. Who am I kidding? I’m dead depressed about this. Boo.