Professional tennis returns to Solano County for a milestone fifth year in October when the $100,000 NorthBay Healthcare Men's Pro Championship showcases many of the best players in the world on the courts at Solano Community College in Fairfield.
The ATP Challenger and USTA Pro Circuit event will be held Oct. 7-13. Tickets for the seven-day tournament will go on sale once the schedule is finalized this fall. All seating is in close proximity to the courts.
Time will tell who will become the next future stars, but the NorthBay event has a strong list of participants in its short history now thriving on the ATP Tour. Of the 94 different singles players who have participated in the Fairfield Challenger, four are currently ranked in the Top-50, 16 in the Top-100 and 45 in the Top-200.
"We had a tremendous tournament in 2018 and we expect this year’s event to be even bigger and better," tournament director Phil Cello said.
American Frances Tiafoe played in the 2016 Fairfield Challenger. He had an amazing run into the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in January before falling to the great Rafael Nadal. Denis Shapovalov, Taylor Fritz and Alex Bolt have all played in Fairfield. All three reached the third round in Melbourne. Bolt was one of 11 players from the 2018 NorthBay field that made the main draw of the Australian Open and one of the 21 Fairfield event alumni that participated. Shapovalov played in the 2016 Fairfield Challenger and is now ranked 20 th in the world. Powered by his strong run in Australia, Tiafoe is 37th and young Canadian sensation Felix Auger-Aliassime (2017 Fairfield Challenger) has risen to 30th.
The 2018 NorthBay title went to Pittsburgh native Bjorn Fratangelo, who beat Bolt in straight sets. Former UCLA star Mackenzie McDonald won in 2017. Santiago Giraldoof Columbia took the 2016 title and American Taylor Fritz was the champion in 2015.
The Fairfield tournament is the final leg of the men's worldwide ATP Challenger Tour's swing through Northern California. It continues to be a great opportunity for tennis fans to watch high-powered professional matches up close.
There will be 48 players this year in the singles draw and 16 teams in doubles. The field of professionals will be finalized in September. The tournament often makes for an interesting mix of young-and-upcoming players going shot- for-shot with veterans trying to either rehabilitate injuries or reboot their careers. Many are ranked in the top-200.
Boys and girls age 11 and older are encouraged to volunteer as ball kids. It’s an important but fun opportunity to be among world class professional athletes, keeping the action on the court moving and allowing officials and players alike to remain focused on their matches. Those who volunteer to be ball kids will receive training, a tournament T-shirt and meals. There are two shifts each day, one beginning at 9:30 a.m. and the other starting at 2 p.m. There are also some night matches. Each shift lasts around four hours and offers frequent breaks. Ball kids must be able to remain focused and alert, have a general knowledge of tennis, and be able to keep score, including tiebreakers, so they can stay aware of what is happening on the court.
The tournament benefits the Dr. Chris Cammisa Tennis and Educational Foundation, an organization that supports the women's and men's teams at Solano College and introduces tennis and related education programs to underserved youth in Solano County. Last year, the tournament hosted children from The Leaven to participate in the USTA's Next Generation Program, a fun, kid-size introduction to the game.
NorthBay Healthcare has held the title sponsorship since 2017, honoring the legacy of Dr. Cammisa, who served as its chairman in the department of family practice. Dr. Cammisa was also chief medical officer at Partnership HealthPlan from 1999 to 2010 before his passing in June 2014. He was a longtime volunteer with youth sports throughout the county.
For more information: www.fairfieldprotennis.com