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    Lima Lights Up Challenger Tour, ‘Arms Broad Open’ For Gamers | ATP Tour

    Nestled amongst high-rise buildings and a brief stroll from the Pacific coast lies the host venue of the Lima-2 Challenger: Membership Terrazas de Miraflores.

    You possibly can go to the seaside, strive browsing, go to a few of Lima’s well-known parks resembling ‘Paruqe del Amor’, style the Peruvian delicacies, and benefit from the ATP Challenger Tour match all without having public transportation.

    Whereas which will look like a dream getaway for a lot of, match director Luis Horna, former World No. 33, strives to convey a house feeling to the opponents on the Lima-2 Challenger.

    ATP Challenger Tour 

    “It doesn’t matter the place the gamers come from, we at all times meet them with our arms extensive open and attempt to give them a superb therapy,” Horna stated. “That’s a key for us. As I was a participant, I know how I used to really feel at a match.

    “Miraflores is a nicely positioned district right here in Lima. All of the eating places, procuring malls are right here. There’s at all times a superb ambiance across the match. Not simply the native gamers but additionally for the blokes which are coming from different international locations.”

    The Lima Challenger, celebrating its eleventh version, is the fifth longest working lively South American Challenger match, solely behind Montevideo (20), Guayaquil (17), Santiago (15), and Campinas (12).

    After a 14 12 months drought of no Peruvians within the High 100, dwelling hero Juan Pablo Varillas climbed to a career-high No. 97 within the Pepperstone ATP Rankings in August, changing into the fifth Peruvian participant to crack the High 100. Whereas Varillas is carrying the torch for tennis in Peru, the four-time Challenger champion’s coronary heart is about on doing it with humility.

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    “Once I began going up within the rankings, began bettering, the youngsters wanted a tennis participant and a determine to comply with,” Varillas stated. “I like the position I play. There’s a little bit of strain as a result of I need to be a superb instance. It’s a very nice motivation for me to be a extremely good position mannequin. Not solely as a tennis participant but additionally as an individual.”

    Varillas has been enjoying his dwelling match since 2013 and is a two-time semi-finalist in Lima. The 27-year-old has a particular relationship with Horna, who can be Peru’s Davis Cup captain.

    Luis 'Lucho' Horna (left) and <a href=Juan Pablo Varillas on the 2022 Lima-2 Challenger.” />
    Luis ‘Lucho’ Horna (left) and Juan Pablo Varillas on the 2022 Lima-2 Challenger. Credit score: Grant Thompson

    “My first skilled match that I noticed once I was younger was ‘Lucho’ [Luis Horna] enjoying Davis Cup,” Varillas stated. “He has been an incredible motivator for us and a job mannequin to comply with. Now that I work with him and his administration company, he’s my good friend additionally. It’s a very nice relationship now we have.

    “Lima was my first Challenger that I performed once I was in juniors. It’s an incredible feeling to be at dwelling and it has been a pleasant journey enjoying 9 years in a row at this occasion. Firstly it was robust for me, the primary six years I didn’t win a match. Since 2019, it has been good. I like the vitality of the gang. Typically there may be additional pressure as a result of there usually are not many tournaments right here in Peru. It’s a bit completely different however I prefer it.”

    Horna, who claimed two Tour-level titles (Acapulco 2006 and Vina del Mar 2007), stated he has seen tennis change into extra widespread because the pandemic and now, virtually each tennis academy in Lima is filled with college students wanting to be taught. Having Varillas make historical past additionally performed a job in rising the sport In Peru.

    “Juan Pablo is a good, hard-working, humble man,” Horna stated. “He has an incredible household round him, it’s a pleasure to work with him not solely in tennis but additionally as a supervisor. He’s a participant that also has loads to offer to the ATP. I hope within the subsequent couple years, he can explode and make the High 50, I believe he has the possibility.

    “The picture of Juan Pablo is getting greater and greater. We even have two juniors which are going very excessive on the Challenger Tour: Ignacio Buse and Gonzalo Bueno. They’re making a superb step, all the pieces goes in a superb course.”

    Since Horna retired from professional tennis in 2009, he has remained within the sport in a wide range of methods. Between being Peru’s Davis Cup captain, working his academy (Academia Lucho), his work at IGMA sports activities (sports activities administration company), and directing the Challenger occasion, Horna stays busy along with his life submit skilled tennis.

    Club Terrazas de Miraflores in Lima, Peru.
    Membership Terrazas de Miraflores, host website of the 2022 Lima-2 Challenger. Credit score: Adam Roberts

    “I’ve at all times been concerned within the sport by some means,” Horna stated. “I like to do it, tennis has given me all the pieces in my life, my household, pals. It’s a technique to be in contact with the gamers and assist them. I’m at all times happy to do this.”

    Whereas ‘Lucho’ is consistently seen giving again to the game, he acknowledges that the ATP Challenger Tour is important to skilled tennis. The Challenger 80 occasions (August and October) in Peru’s capital metropolis are an incredible instance of gamers making their pathway to the best degree.

    “Every part begins on the Challenger Tour,” Horna stated. “We had [Marco] Cecchinato right here in 2017 and the following 12 months he made the semi-finals at Roland Garros. We had [Diego] Schwartzman enjoying right here, the primary Challenger quarter-final of his profession (2012), then he turned a High 10 participant.

    “Most of the gamers make their first steps on the Challenger Tour and really rapidly they adapt and begin to play Tour occasions. There’s no ATP with out the Challenger Tour.”

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    Situated on the Pacific coast and wealthy in South American tradition, Lima has been internet hosting an incredible Challenger Tour occasion for over a decade. Peru’s capital metropolis is the fourth largest metropolis in South America, behind São Paulo, Buenos Aires, and Rio de Janeiro. When Horna and Varillas had been requested what to eat in Lima, they laughed and answered the identical: ceviche and japanese meals.

    Did You Know?
    5 former High 50 stars hailing from South America are working Challenger tournaments of their dwelling international locations: Horna (Lima), Andres Gomez (Guayaquil & Salinas, Ecuador), Diego Perez (Montevideo, Uruguay), Santiago Giraldo (Pereira, Colombia), and Nicolas Lapentii (Ambato, Ecuador).

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