Kozlov, McDonald, Reese and Velero awarded wild cards into Knoxville Challenger, a USTA Pro Circuit Event

The USTA announced that Stefan Kozlov, Mackenzie McDonald, Hunter Reese and Luis Valero have been awarded wild card entries into the 2015 Knoxville Challenger, a USTA Pro Circuit Event. This $50,000 event will take place Nov. 10-15 at the University of Tennessee’s Goodfriend Indoor Tennis Center.

Stefan Kozlov, United States, age 17, is currently ranked No. 409 in the world and peaked at No. 2 in the world junior rankings last year. Kozlov reached the junior boys’ final at both Wimbledon and the Australian Open in 2014, as well as the quarterfinals at the junior US Open and French Open. In reaching the Sacramento final at age 16, Kozlov became the youngest American to reach a Challenger final since Andre Agassi in 1986.

MacKenzie McDonald, United States, age 20 is currently ranked No. 454 in the world. McDonald, an American junior tennis player, was a semifinalist at Boys’ Singles of the 2012 Australian Open and also qualified for the 2013 Western & Southern Open as an 18-year-old rising freshman at UCLA. He was subsequently given a wildcard entry into the 2013 US Open qualifying. Recently, McDonald qualified into the main draw of the 2014 Challenger in Winnetka, IL and defeated Australian world no. 154 Sam Groth, 2014 Knoxville Challenger runner-up and 2013 Knoxville Challenger Doubles Champion.

Hunter Reese, United States, age 22, is currently ranked No. 548 in the world and is a former University of Tennessee All-American and 2014 Knoxville Challenger Doubles Champion.

Luis Valero, Columbia, age 19, is currently ranked No. 1576 in the world and a University of Tennessee star sophomore.

The Knoxville Challenger, a USTA Pro Circuit event, is the largest professional men’s tennis tournament in our region. The Challenger series is designed to provide opportunities to aspiring young professional tennis players to advance to the top levels of the game.

By participating in events like the Knoxville Challenger, players from the USTA Pro Circuit rise to a level of prominence on the major tour. Many of the current top-ranked American players, as well as many international stars, have competed in the Knoxville Challenger as they climbed the world rankings. More than 30 professionals playing in the 2015 US Open previously competed in the Knoxville Challenger. These professionals compete for a total purse of $50,000 in prize money and for valuable ATP ranking points.

For the tournament schedule and ticket information, visit knoxchallenger.com.

The Knoxville Challenger benefits the Helen Ross McNabb Center, a regional not-for-profit provider of behavioral health care in East Tennessee, while also inspiring and entertaining new and seasoned lovers of the sport. This year’s event is in memory of Harry W. Stowers. His life, work, commitment, and passion for the Helen Ross McNabb Center were of significant benefit to our entire community.

USTA Pro Circuit
With approximately 90 tournaments hosted annually throughout the country and prize money ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, the USTA Pro Circuit is the pathway to the US Open and tour-level competition for aspiring tennis players and a frequent battleground for established professionals. The USTA launched its Pro Circuit 36 years ago to provide players with the opportunity to gain professional ranking points, and it has since grown to become the largest developmental tennis circuit in the world, offering nearly $3 million in prize money. Last year, more than 1,000 men and women from more than 70 countries competed in cities nationwide. John Isner, Maria Sharapova, Sam Querrey, Sloane Stephens, Kei Nishikori, Victoria Azarenka and Andy Murray are among today’s top stars who began their careers on the USTA Pro Circuit.

For more information please contact:
Name: Emily Scheuneman
On-site: 865-599-5836
E-mail: emily.scheuneman@mcnabb.org