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Matteo Gigante - Foto Johanna Wallmeier (MEF Tennis Events)

By Florian Heer

Los Gigantes is a resort town in the Santiago del Teide municipality on the west coast of the Canary Island Tenerife. Its main feature are the giant rock formations and cliffs that rise from the sea to a height of 800 metres after which the town has been named. Los Gigantes means “The Giants”.

About 10 kilometres further south, a “Tennis Giant” – Matteo Gigante of Italy – captured his first title on the ATP Challenger Tour. Gigante powered past fellow Italian and wild card entry Stefan Travaglia, 6-3, 6-2, in the singles final of the Tenerife Challenger 3.

On a mostly sunny Sunday at the Abama Tennis Academy in Guía de Isora, the 21-year-old was the dominant player right from the beginning of the match. The first set saw service losses on both sides, but Gigante gained the decisive break in the 8th game to close the set out. The World No. 232 from Rome took the momentum into the second set broke Travaglia’s serve in the first game and from then on didn’t look back anymore. Gigante won 59 per cent of the total points played to seal victory in one hour and 10 minutes.

Exciting week in Tenerife

“I am so happy and proud of myself, my team and my family. I played very good tennis this week at this amazing place,” Gigante said.

The #NextGenATP Italian, who fell in the final round of the qualifying to his compatriot Giovanni Fonio at the start of the €73,000 hard-court event, entered the main draw with a wild card and beat Spanish wild card Daniel Rincon, top seed Francesco Passaro of Italy, wild card entry Pablo Llamas Ruiz of Spain and his fellow countryman Riccardo Bonadio en-route to the championship match.

“It was a complicated final. Stefano and I are good friends and we played last week here. We practice together in Rome. It was a mental challenge, but I won, and I am happy,” the leftie said.

Gigante, who celebrated his maiden triumph on the Pro Circuit at the ITF World Tennis Tour M15 event in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt last year, has claimed the biggest title of his career. He earned €9,880 in prize money as well as 75 ATP Ranking points.

“I will continue with my work and try to play good tennis and a couple more tournaments.”

Matteo Gigante - Foto Johanna Wallmeier (MEF Tennis Events)

by Florian Heer

For the second consecutive time, two Italians will meet in a singles final of the Tenerife Challenger series. After the success of Matteo Arnaldi over his compatriot Raul Brancaccio last weekend, this Sunday Stefano Travaglia and Matteo Gigante will play for the title of the Tenerife Challenger 3.

Travaglia battled past fifth-seeded Briton Ryan Peniston 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-2 on a sunny Saturday in Guía de Isora. The 31-year-old wild card entry sent down four aces and won two points more than his rival to secure victory in two hours and 24 minutes.

“It was a tough match right from the beginning and in the first set I immediately spent a lot of physical and mental energy,” said 409th-ranked Travaglia. “In the second set my opponent changed the pace, but in the third I found my best tennis.”

Gigante wins two matches, advances to maiden Challenger final

Gigante pulled double duty to reach his maiden final on the ATP Challenger Tour. The 21-year-old lucky loser backed up a win earlier in the day against Spaniard Pablo Llamas Ruiz (6-2, 6-4) with a hard-fought 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-3 victory over fellow Italian Riccardo Bonadio.

The World No. 232 struck seven aces, won 77 per cent of his first-service points and broke his opponent four times to prevail after two hours and 36 minutes.

“In the first match I played well, then I recharged my batteries for the match with “Bonny”, which was a real battle,” said Gigante.

Gigante, who celebrated his maiden triumph on the Pro Circuit at the ITF World Tennis Tour M15 event in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt last year, is bidding for the biggest title of his career. Travaglia could lift his sixth ATP Challenger career trophy, his first since the 2021 Sibiu Open in Romania. Both players met for the first-time last week in the second round of the Tenerife Challenger 2. Gigante won in straight sets.

The two have a very good relationship and have recently been training together at the Enjoy Sporting Club. “We often play in Rome. Last week’s match counts for nothing. Stefano is playing very well, and it will be a great final,” said Gigante.

Harris/Harrison triumph in doubles

Later in the evening and under the lights on Centre Court at the Abama Tennis Academy, Andrew Harris from Australia and US-American Christian Harrison captured the doubles title. The No. 4 seeds edged past third favourites Luke Johnson from Great Britain and Sem Verbeek of the Netherlands 7-6(6), 6-7(4), 10-8 in two hours and two minutes.

By winning their second team title after Little Rock, United States last year, Harris and Harrison split €9,880 in prize money and pocketed 75 ATP Doubles Ranking points.

President of the Royal Spanish Tennis Federation visits Tenerife Challenger

Off the courts, the Tenerife Challenger earned a visit from Miguel Díaz Román, president of the Royal Spanish Tennis Federation (RFET), who attends the final weekend of the tournament series on the biggest of the Canary Islands.

“Not too many years ago we only had two Challenger tournaments in Spain,” Díaz Román said. “Thanks to companies like MEF Tennis Events, which are specialized in the organisation of international tennis tournaments, we had the opportunity to increase this number. We can only thank Marcello Marchesini for this. The three Tenerife Challengers are important for our development and Spanish players have the opportunity to compete in tournaments at home, so they can earn ranking points without leaving the country.”

Reigning US Open junior champion Martín Landaluce is one of the young Spaniards, who played at this year’s Tenerife Challenger series. “I don’t want to compare him to Carlos Alcaraz, but Martín Landaluce has all the ingredients to become a champion,” the RFET president commented on the prospects of the 17-year-old from Madrid.

A total of 15 Challenger events are scheduled to be held in Spain this season.

“It is very important for us to organise tournaments in Spain. To start with three Challengers, being held in a wonderful place like the Abama Tennis Academy is special,” said Díaz Román, who considers the organisation of professional events to be fundamental in his vision. The next step in this direction could be the organisation of an ATP Challenger 175, a category that has been added to the calendar for the first time this year.

“I like this novelty and I have also discussed it with Marcello Marchesini. I think it is a feasible objective for the future.”

by Florian Heer

For the third time in the past four weeks, the stars of the ATP Challenger Tour have gathered at the stunning venue of the Abama Tennis Academy in Guía de Isora, where spectators can enjoy panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean while soaking in world-class tennis, to determine the champion of the Tenerife Challenger. Following the triumph of Italian Matteo Arnaldi last Sunday, two of his fellow countrymen have found their way into the semi-finals of this week’s €73,000 hard-court event.

In the bottom half of the draw, Stefano Travaglia defeated his compatriot Alessandro Giannessi 6-3, 6-4 on Friday. The 31-year-old from the Marche region of Italy capitalized on four of his eight break-point chances to seal victory in one hour and 27 minutes.

“I’m happy to be in the semi-finals,” said 409th-ranked Travaglia, who entered the main draw of the Tenerife Challenger 3 with a wild card. “Alessandro and I have known each other for a long time. Today there was a lot of wind, but I was well prepared and played a good match. I’m finding consistency after not being able to play so many matches at the end of 2022.”

Supported by his wife Maria Paola and his new coach Giuseppe Fischetti, who is based at the Enjoy Sporting Club in Rome, former World No. 60 Travaglia wants to get back to his best.

“The ranking will come as a result. I am happy that my wife will be able to travel with me a few more weeks this year. With Peppe Fischetti we are having a good time and I will travel with him as well. At the Enjoy Sporting Club we worked hard during the pre-season and now we are starting to see the results.”

Peniston beats Fonio 

Travaglia will next face No. 5 seed Ryan Peniston, who beat Italian qualifier Giovanni Fonio 7-5, 6-4 on Court 3. The 27-year-old Briton won 58 per cent of the total points played to advance in one hour and 37 minutes.

“I am happy to be in the semi-finals here. It was a super close match, which could have gone either way. The conditions were tough, and Giovanni is a great player,” said Peniston. 

“I did my pre-season in Australia because my coach is from Adelaide. It was awesome, as I was staying with his family, and I could also enjoy some really good preparation. This helped me at the start of the season,” added the World No. 159, who also reached the stage of the final four at the ATP Challenger event in Noumea, New Caledonia in January, his first tournament of 2023. Another good result in Tenerife should help him to get closer to reach his goal of the new season. “I want to make the Top 100 this year, playing some ATP events,” Peniston said.

Bonadio through to the final four

In the top half of the draw, Riccardo Bonadio knocked out fellow Italian and No. 8 seed Francesco Maestrelli 7-5, 6-2. The 29-year-old from Pordenone withstood four aces and broke Maestrelli’s serve five times to prevail after one hour and 56 minutes.

“Today’s conditions were slower compared to the other days, probably because of the rain last night,” said Bonadio. “It was very windy, so it was tough to be aggressive on court today. But I am happy, as I played well and made it into the semi-finals here in Tenerife. Together with my coach we work hard on my game on hard courts, and it pays off.” 

Bonadio will next take on either Matteo Gigante of Italy or Spanish wild card entry Pablo Llamas Ruiz. Their quarterfinal match was suspended at 1-1 in the first set due to rain and postponed to Saturday, 10:30 am.


Matteo Arnaldi - Foto Daniel Kondraciuk (MEF Tennis Events)

By Florian Heer

Amazing Arnaldi downs Brancaccio for Tenerife Challenger 2 title

Matto Arnaldi capped his stunning week at the Abama Tennis Academy on Sunday when the 21-year-old prevailed 6-1, 6-2 in an all-Italian championship match at the Tenerife Challenger 2.

The second-seeded Arnaldi was ruthless right from the beginning against his countryman by staying consistent from the baseline and winning 68 per cent of the total points played to clinch opening set in only 25 minutes.

The #NextGenATP star also set the tone early in the second set, earned a break in the first game and continued to impress with clean hitting off both wings. On the other side of the net, Brancaccio struggled with blisters, took a medical time-out after the third game to receive treatment on his right hand. Arnaldi remained solid, still focused on his own game, and served the match out after 58 minutes.

Arnaldi with new career-high ranking

“I’m very happy about the success,” said Arnaldi. “Overall, it was a good week. It’s never easy to be one of the favourites of a tournament. I played my best match probably in the first round (against Alessandro Giannessi). I’m sorry for Raul who couldn’t play at 100 per cent today, but I am super happy, how I played. The event was amazing with perfect organization by MEF Tennis Events and fantastic conditions. It’s great to play outdoors during the winter.”

Arnaldi lifted his second ATP Challenger Tour career title following his maiden triumph on home soil in Francavilla in May last year. The Sanremo native pocketed €9,880 in prize money as well as 75 ATP Ranking points, which propels him to a new career-high of World No. 110 on Monday.

“Off the court I have found my balance,” said Arnaldi. “I will make some new experiences this season, playing my first ATP events and I also hope to compete in the main draws of the Grand Slam tournaments. I will continue trying to do my best.”

Arnaldi will next play at the ATP Challenger in Bahrain followed by the qualifications to the ATP Tour events in Doha, Dubai, Indian Wells and Miami.

Brancaccio, who is based in Spain at the GTennis Academy in Valencia and is coached by Sergio Gallego, earned €5,820 in prize money and 50 ATP Ranking points.  

Third and final tournament in Tenerife to go underway

Tennis action on the largest of the Canary Islands continues the upcoming week with the Tenerife Challenger 3. The field is led by World No. 109 Francesco Passaro of Italy, who will start his title bid against a qualifier.

Alexander Shevchenko, champion of the Tenerife Challenger 1, will be the second seed. The 22-year-old Russian also awaits a qualifier for his first-round match. Carlos Taberner, Martín Landaluce as well as wild card entries Daniel Rincón and Pablo Llamas Ruiz will be part of a strong Spanish contingent.

Matteo Arnaldi - Foto Daniel Kondraciuk (MEF Tennis Events)

by Florian Heer

Matteo Arnaldi and Raul Brancaccio will meet in Sunday’s all-Italian singles final of the Tenerife Challenger 2. Arnaldi, No. 2 seed of the €73,000 ATP Challenger Tour hard-court event being held at the Abama Tennis Academy, defeated Spanish wild card entry Nicolas Alvarez Varona 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday in Guía de Isora.

In the pair’s first meeting at Challenger level, Arnaldi won 83 per cent of his first-service points and broke his rival three times to advance in one hour and 35 minutes.

“I am very happy how I played. Today was my best match of the tournament. I was more consistent in the important moments,” said Arnaldi, who lost to Max Purcell in the final round of the qualifying at last month’s Australian Open. “In Australia I played well and was close to reach the main draw. Being in the final here is another good sign at an early stage of the season,” the World No. 130 added.

“I am close to crack the Top 100 after this tournament, regardless of the result of the final. My goal was to raise the level, which worked pretty well, and I will now have the opportunity to play the qualifying of ATP Tour events.”

Brancaccio receives walkover

Meanwhile, Brancaccio received a walkover from South African Lloyd Harris, who was forced to withdraw from his match due to sciatica.

Arnaldi is bidding for his second ATP Challenger career title following his maiden triumph on home soil in Francavilla in May last year. The 147th-ranked Brancaccio could lift his third career trophy, his second of the season after Noumea, New Caledonia in the very first week of the 2023 season. The pair’s head-to-head record on the Pro Circuit is tied at 1-1.

Harrison/Mochizuki lift doubles trophies

Later in the day and after a short rain delay, US-American Christian Harrison and Shintaro Mochizuki of Japan claimed the doubles title. The unseeded duo defeated the all-Italian combination of Matteo Gigante and Francesco Passaro 6-4, 6-3 in 64 minutes.

By winning their first team title, Harrison and Mochizuki split €4,250 in prize money and earned 75 ATP Doubles Ranking points.

Sunday’s singles final will start at 12 noon.

Matteo Arnaldi - Foto Daniel Kondraciuk (MEF Tennis Events)

Tenerife Challenger series continues with Hawk-Eye System

Following the success of the first ATP Challenger Tour 100 tournament in mid-January won by Russian Alexander Shevchenko, the second of a three-week hard-court swing in Tenerife is underway.

The Tenerife Challenger 2, which offers a total prize money of €75,000, is being held at the stunning Abama Tennis Academy in Guía de Isora in the western part of the largest of the Canary Islands.

Thanks to the support of Turismo de Tenerife, the Ayuntamiento de Guía de Isora, the Real Federación Española de Tenis and the Federación Insular de Tenis de Tenerife, the event will feature the Hawk-Eye System, which has been installed on Centre Court for the first time.

The use of Hawk-Eye has been a rarity on the ATP Challenger Tour until now. The well-known computer vision system, which uses several video cameras positioned at different angles of the court, makes it possible to reconstruct the trajectory of the ball and to verify whether the bounce point is in or out. The players of the tournament will be able to ask for the verification of doubtful shots, a further guarantee for them.

“We are very happy to use the Hawk-Eye System for the second of three tournaments we have organised on the island of Tenerife,” explains Marcello Marchesini, president of MEF Tennis Events and tournament director. “We are among the first to adopt this solution on the ATP Challenger Tour and it is something that enriches the tournament.”

Arnaldi leads the field

This week’s semi-finals line-up is led by World No. 130 Matteo Arnaldi. The second-seeded Italian, who had to go the distance in his opening two matches, defeated Oleksii Krutykh from Ukraine 6-4, 6-1 on a sunny Friday afternoon. Arnaldi capitalized on four of his seven break-point chances to prevail in one hours and 10 minutes.

“Krutykh is a friend, and it was not easy to face him. Throughout the challenge I played more and more aggressive tennis and made fewer and fewer mistakes, so I am happy with my performance,” said Arnaldi. “It was not easy to adapt to the surface, but today’s match was my best match of the tournament.”

The 21-year-old Sanremo native will next take on Spaniard Nicolas Alvaraz Varona, who is competing in his first tournament of the season. The wild card entry rallied past his compatriot and qualifier Alejandro Moro Canas 1-6, 6-2, 6-3 in one hour and 54 minutes.

Harris continues fine run of form

In the top half of the draw, Lloyd Harris defeated Italian veteran Roberto Marcora 7-6(4), 6-3. The 175th-ranked South African, who knocked out World No. 111 and top seed Francesco Passaro of Italy in the second round, struck nine aces and won 75 per cent of his first-service points to seal victory in one hour and 38 minutes.

“It wasn’t an easy match. The first set was very tight. I got through some break points there. I served pretty well, which helped me today and I got some more free points,” said Harris, who saved three set points in the first set and needed to take a medical time out in the second when he received treatment on his right thigh.

“I am feeling a bit of stiffness. I was playing a lot of matches. Now, I am trying to recover and let’s see how I will feel tomorrow,” said Harris.

The 25-year-old will next play third-seeded Italian Raul Brancaccio, a 6-3, 6-7(6), 6-0 winner over No. 7 seed Carlos Taberner from Spain. The longest encounter of the day lasted three hours and 24 minutes.




By Florian Heer

Alexander Shevchenko’s long journey from Melbourne to the Canary Islands paid off. The 22-year-old, who fell in the first round of the qualifying at the Australian Open to Jan-Lennard Struff, claimed the title of the Tenerife Challenger I. Shevchenko defeated Sebastian Ofner from Austria 7-5, 6-2 on Sunday afternoon.

In perfect weather conditions with a lot of sunshine, temperatures of 22 degrees Celsius and in great atmosphere on Centre Court of the Abama Tennis Academy in Guía de Isora, Shevchenko was the better player right from the beginning.

The World No. 157 set the tone early, broke Ofner’s service in the fifth game but couldn’t serve the opening set out in the 10th game after missing a couple of baseline shots. However, Shevchenko stayed calm and took the set two games later after one hour and 10 minutes.

Shevchenko carried the momentum of winning set one into the second set and gained another early break in the first game. Ofner came back again but the youngster showed his fighting spirit and a great display of tennis to eventually close the match out, winning 55 per cent of the total points played in one hour and 48 minutes.

Winning in great atmosphere

“Today’s match was very really tough,” said Shevchenko, who is based in Austria and coached by Günter Bresnik, but was accompanied by his father during his stay in Tenerife.

“I knew Sebastian is a great player and I had to be aggressive. I also had to win some of the points on my defence, what I did. I served and returned well, that’s why I won today.

“The crowd was amazing. I hope that every Challenger would have a crowd like this. It was great, a lot of fun and many emotions I will remember for the rest of my career.”

By lifting his second ATP Challenger career trophy following his maiden triumph in Bratislava, Slovakia in April last year, Shevchenko pocketed €16,020 in prize money as well as 100 ATP Ranking points.

“I am close to the Top 100, but I still have to work hard to achieve it,” Shevchenko said.

Ofner, who appeared in his eighth Challenger career final, earned € 9,415 in prize money as well as 60 ATP Ranking points.

The Tenerife Challenger series will continue January 29 with an ATP Challenger 75 tournament.

Sebastian Ofner - Foto Daniele Combi (MEF Tennis Events)

by Florian Heer

Sebastian Ofner and Alexander Shevchenko will compete in Sunday’s singles final of the Tenerife Challenger I. On another sunny day on the largest of the Canary Islands, Ofner stopped the run of Hungarian qualifier Mate Valkusz, winning 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday.

In a highly entertaining match on Centre Court of the Abama Tennis Academy in Guía de Isora, the 26-year-old Austrian gained first blood by breaking Valkusz’s serve in the sixth game. Ofner played some decent returns, was solid on his own serve and took the first set in 30 minutes. The World No. 193 kept going, dictated most of the rallies from the baseline and earned an early break in the second set. From then on, Ofner didn’t look back and secured victory in one hour and 14 minutes. 

“I feel very comfortable here and played very well today in a match with a lot of tough rallies and in front of a great crowd. Overall, I am very pleased with my last performances. Every match is very close and most of them can go either way, but I am mentally very strong,” said Ofner, who considered his performance against Valkusz as the best of the season so far. 

“Winning four consecutive matches and starting the year with a final at Challenger level is fantastic,” he added.

Ofner enjoyed an effective pre-season preparation, which seemed to pay off and also gained worldwide media attention during the World Tennis League exhibition tournament in Dubai last month by facing Novak Djokovic. 

“It was fun, and I was lucky to play there. Although it was only an exhibition, it helped me, and it gave me confidence. It wasn’t an official match but playing with that intensity against Nole means that there is nothing you really have to be afraid of,” said Ofner. 

Shevchenko fights past Maestrelli

Later in the afternoon, Shevchenko defeated Next-Gen ATP Italian Francesco Maestrelli. In a match with a couple of close calls and controversial discussions, the No. 5 seed capitalized on three of his seven break-point opportunities to prevail after one hour and 45 minutes. 

“It was an unbelievable fight out there today,” Shevchenko said afterwards. “Francesco played a fantastic last season. His serve is amazing and really tough to return. I needed to be at 100 per cent to beat him today.” 

Final between two good friends

Ofner, a winner of four Challenger crowns, will appear in his eighth Challenger career final, his first since lifting the trophy in Prague, Czech Republic in April last year. Shevchenko could claim his second title on the Challenger Tour following his maiden triumph on clay in Bratislava, Slovakia in June 2022.

“I also like to play on hard court,” Shevchenko said and is looking forward to the championship match. “The surface is not that fast here. I like the conditions.”

Ofner and Shevchenko will meet for the first time in an official match, but the pair know each other pretty well, as both players were previously coached by Günter Bresnik. While Ofner started to join forces with Wolfgang Thiem, Shevchenko still has a strong relationship with the Austrian star coach.

“We are really good friends,” Shevchenko said about Ofner. “He is a great person and I respect him very much. It’s going to be a tough battle and I hope that we deliver a good match.”

Vlad Cornea and Martos Gornes triumph in doubles

In other action, Victor Vlad Cornea from Romania and Spaniard Sergio Martos Gornes clinched the doubles title. The pair defeated Patrik Niklas-Salminen of Finland and Dutchman Bart Stevens 6-3, 6-4 in the final. 

“I had a wonderful week here and a very good start into the season by winning my second title. Hopefully I can keep going like that,” Vlad Cornea said during the trophy ceremony. 

“It was pleasure to play this tournament at home and in these incredible conditions,” Martos Gornes added. 

By claiming their first team title, Vlad Cornea and Martos Gornes split €6,845 in prize money and earned 100 ATP Doubles Ranking points.

by Florian Heer

Professional tennis is back on the sunny island of Tenerife. Three tournaments of the ATP Challenger Tour will be held on the largest of the Canary Islands over the next four weeks. A tournament of the third-highest category, which offers a total prize money of €118,000 is taking place this week on the archipelago, which lies about 300 kilometres off the coast of Morocco and the Western Sahara and over 1,200 kilometres from the south coast of mainland Spain.

Tennis facility in a dreamlike ambience

Even the approach to the Abama Tennis Resort is spectacular. With the small neighbouring island of La Gomera always in view, the serpentine roads in the south-western municipality of Guía di Isora lead past banana plantations and a castle-like, terracotta-coloured luxury hotel to the tennis complex. From here, palm trees and an extensive green area with an adjoining golf resort overlook the Atlantic Ocean.

In the middle of it all are the seven tennis courts, which have already been used for the ATP Challenger and WTA tournament at the end of 2021, the first year the tournament was held. All hard courts are equipped with floodlight including the Centre Court with a capacity of about 600 spectators.

Valkusz continues fine run of form

The 32-man-singles draw of the Tenerife Challenger I has been whittled down to the final four. In the bottom half, qualifier Mate Valkusz continued his excellent run of form this week by knocking out World No. 120 and second-seeded Italian Francesco Passaro, the highest-ranked player left in the singles draw after top favourite Radu Albot from Moldova fell in the opening round to US-American Nicolas Moreno de Alboran in straight sets. Valkusz defeated Passaro 6-4, 6-3 on Friday in perfect tennis conditions with a lot of sunshine and temperatures around 22 degrees Celsius. The 24-year-old from Hungary converted five of his eight break-point chances to secure victory in one hour and 32 minutes. 

“I was focusing on his backhand, as I knew that his forehand is much better. That’s why I could win the rallies backhand cross,” said Valkusz after the match. “I could move him well on the court. My serve worked well, and he couldn’t really attack my second serve. I think that he was not feeling his best, but he is close to the Top 100 and competes at the highest level, so it’s a big win for me.”

Valkusz reached his fourth semi-final on the ATP Challenger Tour after finishing runner-up to Italian veteran Paolo Lorenzi in Cordenons, Italy in 2018 and reaching the stages of the final four in Mauthausen, Austria and Split, Croatia last season. The World No. 278, who was a top-ranked junior in 2016 but struggled with a wrist and shoulder injury in the past years, is trying to get back to his best. 

“I am still expecting more from me. I was successful at junior’s level but got injured and was forced to stop playing for a couple of years. I could only play 10 to 12 tournaments per seasons. Now, I am getting better, starting to feel more comfortable on the court,” said Valkusz, who has come to the Canary Islands for the first time. After winning five matches this week here, the Budapest native, who lives and practices in his hometown, is well on his way to establishing a close relationship with Tenerife. 

“It is a beautiful club. I love tennis, especially in a fantastic atmosphere like here, where the courts offer a great view. The people are very nice. The organization is great, and the beach is stunning. It helps me to play my best and I am highly motivated. However, I feel a bit exhausted. I will enjoy some rest now and need to take a nap.”

Next up for Valkusz will be Sebastian Ofner. “There are no weak players here. I need to be at 100 per cent again to reach the final,” Valkusz said about his upcoming task. 

Pain-free Ofner in good shape

Ofner, who had battled past No. 6 seed Luca Nardi of Italy in the first round in three sets followed by a two-set win over Hungarian Fabian Marozsan, showed another decent performance against Riccardo Bonadio. The 193rd-ranked Austrian downed the Italian 6-4, 6-2 in one hour and 11 minutes. 

“I struggled with injuries in the past one and a half years but I have been pain free since the middle of November and things are going very well right now,” said Ofner. “I had a very good pre-season and a good start into the year at the Australian Open. I adapted well to the conditions here. I feel comfortable and feel physically fit. I am happy with my level of tennis and the situation right now.”

Shevchenko: the last seed standing

Alexander Shevchenko leads the top half of the draw. The No. 5 seed edged past Italian qualifier Lorenzo Giustino 6-4, 7-5. Shevchenko struck seven aces and broke his rival’s serve five times to prevail after one hour and 48 minutes. 

“I was very consistent today,” Shevchenko said about the key to success. “I only had a bad start into the second set and Lorenzo caught the momentum but I managed to fight and I am very happy.”

By reaching the semi-finals, the current World No. 157 is sitting on a virtual career-high ranking now (No. 141). Shevchenko is joined by his father here in Tenerife but practices in Austria with Günter Bresnik. The group of Dominic Thiem’s former coach already spent the pre-season in Adeje, situated in the south of the island. 

“I am actually a local here,” Shevchenko said with a smile. “I was staying for one and a half months here, and I like it a lot. The weather and the facilities are great. It’s just beautiful. 

“I have been working with Günter for almost 10 years now and he’s more than a coach for me. He is taking care of me all the time. He watches every match via live stream and we get in touch afterwards. When I lose in a tournament, I go back to Vienna, and we practice together.”

Up next for Shevchenko will be Francesco Maestrelli, who rallied past fellow Italian and wild card entry Matteo Gigante 1-6, 6-1, 6-3 in one hour and 34 minutes.


Tenerife, 28 December 2022 – The entry list of the Tenerife Challenger has been officially released. The circuit returns to the Canary Islands, more precisely to the Abama Tennis Academy, which will host three events between January and February. The first, scheduled for January 15-22, is an ATP Challenger 100; two ATP Challenger 75s will follow (from 29 January to 5 February and from 5 to 12 February). In the review organized by MEF Tennis Events on the outdoor hard courts of the renowned academy, the Moldovan Radu Albot will lead the seeding. Followed by the blue Francesco Passaro and the idol of the house Fernando Verdasco. Luca Nardi will also be at the starting line, one of the most interesting prospects in world tennis.

From Passaro to Nardi, lots of Italy in Tenerife – Thirty-three-year-old Radu Albot, who boasts an ATP best ranking of 39 in his career, will be the top seed in the tournament. The Moldovan starts the season as ATP number 103 and his new run-up to the top 100 will also pass to the Canary Islands. In 2023 the Umbrian Francesco Passaro will also try to reach this goal, who after last year’s exploits, wants to continue the climb that in 2022 led him to be a protagonist on the fields of the Foro Italico and the Next Gen ATP Finals; as well as conquering the first ATP Challenger title in Trieste. Fernando Verdasco, three times Davis Cup champion with Spain, semifinalist at the 2009 Australian Open and former world number 7, needs no introduction. The champion born in Madrid, already played in Tenerife in 2021 and distinguished himself by reaching the semi-final. The presence of Italian troops is rich, starting with Matteo Arnaldi (134 ATP) and Luca Nardi (135 ATP). The latter in particular is considered one of the top prospects in world tennis and is called to the maturity season. The tricolor picture is closed by the presence in the main draw of Flavio Cobolli and Riccardo Bonadio, while Spain will also be represented by Carlos Taberner. Among the most prominent names of the excellent entry list, also the German Jan-Lennard Struff and the French Benoit Paire.

The enthusiasm of director Marrero – “It is very important for us to continue organizing tournaments in Tenerife and doing it with MEF Tennis Events is an added value: it is a guarantee of excellent success”. These are the words of David Marrero, director of the three Tenerife Challengers scheduled soon. The former number 5 ATP doubles, as well as champion of the ATP Finals in 2013 paired with Fernando Verdasco, will once again lead the events organized by MEF Tennis Events in the Canary Islands: “We start immediately strong with an ATP Challenger 100 with an excellent entry list. We are always happy to be able to welcome high-level players and in general these tournaments are good for the Spanish movement and for Canarian tennis”.