Established in 2019, the Ellesse Professional Tennis Challenge is an annual charity tennis tournament hosted at the picturesque Emkey Tennis Garden in Reading, Pennsylvania. The tournament regularly attracts top-tier ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) talent, as Chris Eubanks, Ernests Gulbis, Ryan Harrison, and Filip Misolic have all attended in recent years. Due to the pristine condition of the ETG hardcourt, the event dually functions as a tune-up tourney for the US Open. Attendees regularly go on to the USO qualifiers each year, with two-time alum and finalist, Michael Zheng, nearly making the 2023 main draw.
The Emkey Tennis Garden is located in none other than a sleepy suburban neighborhood. Right behind the Emkey household proper, in fact. The family’s house stands above a backyard with a private hard court and gorgeous flora within it. The decision to hold a tennis tournament in a backyard might raise some eyebrows, but - in actuality - it’s the tournament’s greatest strength. This isn’t the US Open and - for those involved with the EPTC - that’s something to be proud of. It’s about family and community, through and through. It’s an event that galvanizes the entire local tennis community around awesome pro talent and the opportunity for fellowship. Whereas Wimbledon is “tennis in an English garden,” the EPTC is “tennis in your neighbor’s backyard.”
And the best part is that all of the love and support from Berks County goes right back into it through the tournament’s charitable efforts.
Check out the article about the Ellesse Pro Challenge on Court Theory here!