Up-and-coming tennis professionals from Croatia to New Zealand, Taiwan to Lebanon are in Rome this week for the first men’s professional tournament at the Rome Tennis Center at Berry College.

The first Georgia’s Rome ATP Challenger completes a Grand Slam-like circuit for the RTCBC which has hosted a women’s IF pro tournament the past two years and sent professional wheelchair tournaments for several years.

Players this week are competing for points in the professional rankings system as much as they are prize money. The higher A player is ranked, the easier it is to get into a major tournament where the money is much greater. The total prize purse in Rome is a little over $53,000.

Among the top players still in action are current NCAA men’s singles champion Ben Shelton from the Univ. of Florida and Patrick Kypson of Texas A&M. Americans Donald Young and Strong Kirchheimer are also still alive in the main draw.

Play continues through Sunday at the indoor courts at the RTCBC complex.

By: Doug Walker