TOULOUSE, August 28, 2022
With a delay of three years, the ATP Challenger Tour has finally arrived in Toulouse. France’s fourth-largest city, a prefecture of the department of Haute-Garonne as well as of the larger region of Occitania, is situated on the banks of the River Garonne, 150 kilometres from the Mediterranean Sea and 230 km from the Atlantic Ocean.
After successfully staging two tournaments on the ITF Pro Circuit in 2018 and 2019, the Stade Toulousain Tennis Club was planning to organize an ATP Challenger event the next year. With the outbreak of the coronavirus crisis and a lack of sponsors, however, it was not the right time to do so.
Toulouse even experienced more problems in the past with hosting international tennis events. In September 2001 an ATP Tour in Toulouse was canceled right before the start of the qualifying after an explosion at the nearby AZF petrochemical plant. The blast was equivalent to 20-40 tons of TNT, producing an earthquake with a magnitude of 3.4, and was heard 80 km away. The incident resulted in 29 deaths and left 2,500 wounded.
The tournament kicks off
This Saturday, however, the start of the inaugural Internationeaux de Toulouse took place without any difficulties and incidents. Plenty of sunshine and interesting matches provided perfect conditions to kick off the €45,730 clay-court event.
The club, mostly known for its rugby team, which competes in the Top 14, France’s top division of the sport, and the European Rugby Champions Cup. Toulouse play their home games at the Stade Ernest-Wallon, which is located right next to the tennis courts. The Stade Toulousain Tennis Club with its 1,200 members has also celebrated success in recent times by winning the French team competition for the first time earlier in the season. Hugo Gaston, Benjamin Bonzi and Hugo Nys are based at this club.
Stopover in 🇫🇷
— Florian Heer (@Florian_Heer) August 28, 2022
Taberner leads the line-up
The tournament’s top seed this week is Carlos Taberner. The 118th-ranked Spaniard, who fell in the qualifying of the second round at the US Open to Maximilian Marterer of Germany, will open his title bid against local wild card entry Mathys Erhard.
The bottom half of the draw is led by Elias Ymer. The 26-year-old Swede will take on Portuguese alternate Joao Domingues in the first round. Third-seeded Frenchman Alexandre Muller and Gianluca Mager of Italy round the top four.
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