BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — On Thursday, you can find some of the top up and coming tennis players from throughout the world in Birmingham. The city is hosting an international tennis tournament that is not only drawing future stars, it’s also bringing revenue to Birmingham hotels and restaurants
With every swing, the tennis players participating in the tournament are shooting for a chance to play in one of the majors: The U.S. Open, French Open, Australian Open or Wimbledon. Three time doubles winner Robert Galloway says that’s something that is always on their minds.
“Everyone out here is just trying to make it and this is just the first stop and the first level, if you can get out of this you can try and make it,” Galloway said.
The players come from throughout the world to compete in this U.S.T.A. tournament in Birmingham. Jack Sandifer runs the Highland Park Tennis Center, where the tournament is being held for the ninth year.
“The Netherlands, Japan, China, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, you know the list goes on and on,” Sandifer said.
This year, the International Tennis Federation Pro Circuit drew players from 35 different countries. Many of them are top collegiate players or recently played on the national level. The players ranked from top 300 to 900 in the world. They are future tennis stars, who bring with them an economic boost to the city, according to Sandifer.
“It fills up hotels, too, restaurants, these guys eat a lot and drink a lot of water, too,” Galloway said. He enjoys playing in Birmingham. “I’m actually staying with a host family that I’ve known since high school. So, the city is great and love the city so far and everyone has been really welcoming.”
Thursday’s single matches begin at 10 a.m. The doubles matches are Friday at 5:30 p.m.
The tennis tournament is free to spectators and worth all the action.