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Coleman Wong will compete in Hong Kong for the first time since 2019. Photo: ArcK Images

Coleman Wong joins a field of top-level men’s tennis stars for Hong Kong International Tennis Challenge 2022

  • The Hong Kong International Tennis Challenge 2022 marks the first time that top-ranked men’s tennis players have competed in Hong Kong in almost 20 years
  • Tennis chief Philip Mok said the event will be the first of many major events in the city, with the Hong Kong Tennis Open to return in October 2023

Hong Kong Tennis Association has secured a handful of emerging ATP stars for its first men’s exhibition tournament in some 20 years, with organisers promising more major tournaments in 2023 and beyond.

The Hong Kong International Tennis Challenge 2022 will see the likes of world No 9 Taylor Fritz, world No 11 Hubert Hurkacz, and US Open semi-finalist Frances Tiafoe compete at the Victoria Park Tennis Stadium over three days from December 23 to 25.

The big draw, however, will be local star and two-time junior grand slam winner Coleman Wong Chak-lam, who returns to compete in his first local tennis tournament since 2019.

Wong made tennis history in January by following up his victory at the US Open 2021 boys’ double with a second grand slam title at the Australian Open, becoming the city’s first two-time grand slam winner.

Coleman Wong reached the last eight of the junior grand slam event for the first time at Wimbledon. Photo: HKTA

Earlier this year he made the jump from the junior circuit to the men’s professional tour where he hopes to close out the year ranked within the top 350 – a goal he said he was well on the way to achieving.

“To compete against some of the world’s top players at home in front of local fans and my friends and family is a dream come true,” Wong said. “It will be a fantastic opportunity for me to test my game and gain valuable experience for the coming season.”

Also on the bill is China’s No 2 men’s contender Wu Yibing, who added his name to the history books in September when he became the first male Chinese player to reach the US Open third round since 1946. The 23-year-old’s breakthrough followed a period of dominance on the ATP Challenger Tour with titles in 2022 at Orlando, Indianapolis and Rome, USA. Organisers said a sixth player will be announced in coming weeks.

Coleman Wongtargets grand slam level of fitness as he eyes men’s tour success

December’s tournament, backed by title sponsor Bank of Communications, will be the first of many major sporting events the Hong Kong Tennis Association is eyeing, with Hong Kong Tennis Open set to return in October 2023.

HKTA president Philip Mok said he is hoping to capitalise on the public’s recent wave of support for major sporting events that saw record numbers attend October’s Hong Kong Masters snooker tournament and culminated in last weekend’s Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens.

“Especially after the Hong Kong Masters and the rugby sevens, we know that Hong Kong people will come out and support local events,” Mok said.

“We have plans to host some big tennis events in 2023, and for sure, the Hong Kong Open will be back here next October.”

Taylor Fritz in action during the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 in Paris. Photo: AFP

Mok said the HKTA was aiming for a 3,000 capacity crowd, in line with the government’s 85% rule, but was hoping more spectators would be allowed.

Legislative Councillor Vincent Cheng Wing-shun said he was open to the idea of more attendees and would push to extend the limit to 3,600 and allow spectators to eat and drink inside the court, given the event falls on Christmas Day.

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Organisers, however, are banking that the level of tennis talent on offer will be a draw in itself.

The 24-year-old Fritz will compete in Hong Kong for the first time after a season that saw him capture the prestigious Masters 1000 title at Indian Wells and end Rafael Nadal’s incredible 22-match win streak. The American bolstered his year by picking up titles on grass at Eastbourne and on hard courts in Tokyo.

Toafoe will also make his debut in Hong Kong off the back of a breakthrough year that has seen him reach his first grand slam singles semi-final at the US Open and defeat top-1o players Nadal and Andrey Rublrev along the way.

Tickets for the event go on sale from Friday, November 11, and will be priced between HK$300 to HK$800.