Organisers of Hong Kong's new US$50,000 ATP Tour Challenger tournament yesterday vowed not to pay a 'single cent' of appearance money to players at next month's groundbreaking inaugural event. Jeff Mann, tournament director of the CMG Asia Open, said he was confident the new event would appeal to Hong Kong tennis fans because it would feature '32 players fighting it out in genuine competition'. At a press conference to announce the sponsorship of the tournament by financial services group CMG Asia Life Assurance Limited, which has signed up for three years, Mann said the absence of star names would benefit the tournament. 'The tournament is not about stars or big names and I can say quite categorically that we will not be spending a single cent on appearance money,' Mann told Sports Post. 'This is a unique event for Hong Kong and we are anticipating a high level of interest.' Under ATP Tour rules, players in the world top 10 are not eligible for Challenger Series events and the circuit caters primarily for players ranked outside the top 50. 'That is the key,' said Mann yesterday. 'Although in the past we have had exhibition events in Hong Kong with big-name players - which have been very well received - our tournament will have a real competitive edge. 'The players coming here will play hard all the way through because valuable rankings points are on offer,' he said. 'So many tournament organisers these days depend on one or two 'stars' to market their event and to raise ticket and sponsorship prices. 'They forget that an event is about 32 players in aggressive competition,' he added. Organisers of the CMG Asia Open, which will take place at Victoria Park from October 17-25, have been quick to draw comparisons with this year's Salem Open tournament, Hong Kong's only full ATP Tour event. At April's Salem, the average ranking of players in the main draw was 110 and the final was contested between players ranked 76 and 81. 'In terms of quality, I honestly don't think you will see that much of a contrast. The depth of talent in men's tennis is very great at the moment,' Mann said. Mann and Hong Kong Tennis Association (HKTA) officials believe the new tournament will fill a vital role on the Hong Kong sporting scene - and with ticket prices ranging from a rock-bottom $20 to $100 - are optimistic that fans will turn out in force to support the event. 'It is absolutely vital to the future of the sport in the SAR that we host top-level international tennis events such as the CMG Asia Open,' said HKTA president Philip Kwok. 'I am also very pleased with the ticket prices - it means almost every sector of our community will have access to the tournament.' Local fans will also be able to watch two of Hong Kong's top young players in action. Mann said the HKTA had been given two wild-card slots into the first round of the 32-player main draw. The bulk of the lineup for the draw will not be confirmed until three weeks prior to the event, Mann said. 'With Challenger tournaments, players only have to confirm 21 days before the event. With full ATP Tour events it is 42 days, so at the moment I can't say with certainty who will be coming.'