The list of players for the sixth edition of the Drummondville National Bank Challenger was unveiled on Wednesday. The tournament, which offers $54,160 in total prize money, will be played from February 17-23 at the René-Verrier indoor tennis club in Drummondville.
At the head of the Canadian contingent in Drummondville will be 24-year-old Brayden Schnur (Pickering, ON), who will be the tournament’s second seed. Still in search of his first Challenger Tour title, the young Canadian had some breakout performances in 2019, notably reaching the final at the ATP 250 event in New York after having to qualify to reach the main draw. This deep run allowed him to rise up the rankings where he hovered just outside of the Top 100 for most of the year. He will be taking part in the Drummondville Challenger for only the third time in his career, with his best performance coming in 2018 when he reached the semi-finals.
Joining Schnur in the main draw will be Alexis Galarneau (Laval, QC), Benjamin Sigouin (Vancouver, BC) and Liam Draxl (Newmarket, ON) as they have been awarded Wild Cards. Galarneau made a name for himself on the summer circuit of Canadian tournaments in 2019 when he ousted the top seed in Gatineau and reached the third round. Both Sigouin ad Galarneau currently play collegiate tennis in the NCAA. Fans might also recognize 18-year-old Liam Draxl, who took part in one of the most thrilling matches at the tournament last year when he went the distance against John-Patrick Smith in a tight three-set match in the second round. Despite the loss, he garnered attention for his performance. The other Wild Card recipients will be announced at a later date.
“There is an exciting mix of experienced veterans and emerging talent taking part in this year’s tournament, particularly among the young Canadian players who are set to compete. They will be able to gain valuable experience and important ranking points during their time here,” stated Tournament Director Richard Quirion. “We are looking forward to watching this year’s group of players battle for a chance to be crowned champion. It will undoubtably be an entertaining week of tennis!”
Nine players ranking inside the Top 200 are expected to compete at the tournament, including the top seed Dominik Koepfer of Germany. The 25-year-old reached a career-high ranking of no. 83 at the end of 2019 notably thanks to his run to the fourth round at the US Open as a qualifier. Back in 2018, he won the title at the Sherbrooke Futures. Koepfer is not the only player who has had success playing on the Canadian circuit of tournaments, as Americans Denis Kudla and Bradley Klahn also won titles on Canadian soil in 2018, at the Drummondville and Gatineau Challengers, respectively. They are slated to be among the top seeds in Drummondville this year.
*Feature photo: Sarah-Jäde Champagne