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Professional men’s tennis has returned to Cleveland for the second consecutive year.

Hosted at the Cleveland Racquet Club in Pepper Pike from Feb. 10 to Feb. 16, the Cleveland Clinic-presented ATP Challenger Tour event is the third professional tournament to root itself in Ohio.

“Cleveland has a great tennis appetite,” said tournament director Kyle Ross, who handles public relations for Shaker Heights-based boutique talent agency Topnotch Management. “There are a lot of tennis clubs, a lot of tennis players, so it deserves a tennis tournament.”

“It’s an awesome scene. There’s a great viewing deck, where all the spectators can stand and watch and you can also watch courtside.”

The venue also boasts a courtside grill, as well as a pub, “which is always fun,” Ross said. “It’s a nice place for both the spectators and the players.”

Eighty-two players will see court time during the six-day event.

“There is a singles draw of 50 players and a doubles draw of 16 pairs,” Ross said. “It’s a bunch of players.”

The only local players are those who were issued wild cards and were included in the draw at the discretion of the tournament’s organizing committee.

“There’s a Case Western (Reserve University) kid who we gave a wild card to and he’s playing (Tuesday) night,” Ross said. “He’s the first Division III player to get a main draw spot in an ATP Challenger event. So it’s pretty exciting to have a local collegiate player playing at this level.”

Listing Ryan Harrison, Denis Kudla and Donald Young as players fans will likely be familiar with, Ross said, “It’s a good chance to see kids who are kinda moving quickly. You can watch them on TV, you can follow their career path at the Grand Slams and you can say you saw them when they were in Cleveland.”

This year’s Cleveland Open champion will take home 80 ATP World Tour points as well as a share of the nearly $60,000 prize money purse.

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