Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sacramento Challenger to stay, director says

Sacramento Challenger tournament director Brian Martinez,
middle, poses with champion Sam Querrey and runner-up
Stefan Kozlov. Photo by Paul Bauman
   After a few anxious months, the future of the $100,000 Sacramento Challenger appears secure.   
   Tournament director Brian Martinez said recently that although the event has a year-to-year contract with the USTA, he's "confident the tournament will stay indefinitely as part of the three-week swing in Northern California."
   The Sacramento Challenger, held Sept. 29-Oct. 5 at the Natomas Racquet Club, is preceded by the $50,000 Napa Challenger and followed by the $100,000 Tiburon Challenger. Sam Querrey, who decided to stay in his native Northern California rather than travel to Asia for events on the elite ATP World Tour, swept this year's singles titles.
   This was the 10th Sacramento Challenger. It has been hosted by the Natomas Racquet Club for the last six years after four at the Sutter Lawn Tennis Club.  
   "Our goal is to make this the biggest tournament (in terms of community support) in Northern California," Martinez said.
   The Challenger's prize money already is the highest on the USTA Pro Circuit.
   Martinez landed a presenting sponsor, San Francisco-based Acura of Northern California, for this year's tournament but not a title sponsor. Acura and an anonymous donor from Tiburon put up $25,000 of the Sacramento prize money, and the USTA supplied the rest, Martinez said.
  Deepal Wannakuwatte withdrew after four years as the title sponsor in August 2013, and the USTA furnished all the prize money for one year only.
   Wannakuwatte was arrested on Feb. 20 after allegedly defrauding investors of millions in his medical supply businesses. He pleaded guilty to wire fraud in May and is awaiting sentencing.

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