Oracle Challenger Series brings men’s and women’s tennis back to New Haven

Barbadian tennis player Darian King
Darian King on the court at a past Oracle Tennis Series event in Newport Beach

The Oracle Challenger Series will hold its first event of 2019-2020 in New Haven at the Yale Tennis Center Sept. 2-8. The tournament will also feature the Oracle Champions Cup, a one-night men’s legends Invesco Series QQQ event headlined by Connecticut native James Blake.

Now in its third year, the Oracle Challenger Series aims to help up-and-coming American players secure both ranking points and prize money at home in the United States. The two American men and two American women who accumulate the most points over the course of the series receive wild cards into their respective singles main draws at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, widely considered the top combined ATP Tour and WTA professional tennis tournament in the world. 

As part of the series’ mission to grow the sport of tennis and make professional events more accessible, each tournament is free and open to the public.

For nearly three decades, Yale’s students, faculty, staff, and neighbors have celebrated the end of summer at the Connecticut Tennis Center, watching some of the best tennis in the world,” said Yale President Peter Salovey. “Over the years, we have seen many future stars of the sport rise to prominence in New Haven. I am delighted that, thanks to the Oracle Challenger Series, this tradition will continue in 2019.”

American player Jessica Pegula in Newport Beach in January
Jessica Pegula plays in Newport Beach in January

The 2018-2019 Oracle Challenger Series made stops in Chicago, Houston, Newport Beach and Indian Wells, with Reilly Opelka, Donald Young, Lauren Davis and Jessica Pegula earning wild card spots into the 2019 BNP Paribas Open. The series also served as a launching pad for 18-year-old Canadian player Bianca Andreescu, who captured the title at Newport Beach in January before becoming the first-ever female wild card to win the BNP Paribas Open; meanwhile American Taylor Fritz successfully defended his own title in Newport Beach.

As the first event in the 2019-2020 series, the New Haven tournament will be instrumental in determining which players make the most of the opportunity to receive wild cards into the BNP Paribas Open. Additional stops on the 2019-2020 Road to Indian Wells will be announced in the coming months.

Yale and the Oracle Challenger Series share a commitment to bringing talented athletes together from across the country and around the globe,” said Victoria M. Chun, director of Yale Athletics. “We are so excited to welcome the next generation of professional tennis to New Haven, and I know that our student-athletes, their fellow students, our staff, faculty, and the wider community will be inspired by the competition.”

The inaugural New Haven tournament will feature the Oracle Champions Cup, an Invesco Series QQQ event, on Saturday, Sept. 7. The one-night event is part of the competitive tennis circuit featuring legendary tennis icons and world-renowned champions, and will be headlined by Fairfield, Connecticut native and former World No. 4 Blake; 2003 U.S. Open Champion and former World No. 1 Andy Roddick; former World No. 2 Tommy Haas; and two-time Davis Cup titlist and former World No. 8 Mark Philippoussis. The event will consist of two one-set semifinals, with the winners meeting in a one-set championship match.

Asia Muhammad during the Indian Wells Challenger Series in February
Asia Muhammad during the Indian Wells Challenger Series in February

Tickets to the Oracle Champions Cup will be available to a select audience in a pre-sale beginning Monday, June 24, and will go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, June 27 at 10 a.m. local time. Special VIP packages will also be available, including a pro-am, backstage meet-and-greet, exclusive player party, and more.

For more information about the Oracle Challenger Series, visit the tournament website. If you are interested in becoming a ballkid or volunteering for the event, email oraclechallengerseries@desertchampions.com. For more information about the Oracle Champions Cup and to purchase tickets and VIP special packages, visit the Invesco Series QQQ website

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