AUBURN, AL (WTVM) – The competition is heating up in Auburn, as pro and amateur tennis players across the nation prepare for an USTA circus tournament happening all throughout this week.
It's only the qualifying rounds for the 2017 Auburn Women's Pro Tennis Classic, but the competition is by all accounts in full swing.
The USTA and ITF bringing this event to Auburn University's home courts, and it's the first time in years the Tigers have hosted the pro tennis circuit.
"We held one in 2008. It's our first time holding it in 8 years," said Tournament Director Travis Debardelaben.
The tournament's main draw starts this Tuesday and Wednesday, and athletes like Alexa Guarachi are vying to make their mark on the pro circuit, and one day gets to a Grand Slam event.
"Play in the qualifying for the U.S. open, events like that. So, definitely, the goal is to win it and move up in the rankings so you can play in the biggest events in the world," Alexa Guarachi, tennis player.
Guarachi also says this tournament is a golden opportunity for young tennis players to get a taste of professional competition and determine how far they want to go.
"It's good for them to get better, to improve. Also, get them ready for their college tennis, if they're going to college tennis, or to kind of make that decision - if they're good enough - to play pro and play at this level," said Guarachi.
The Women's Pro Classic also drawing the tennis community across the Valley, giving their time and energy to make it a great experience for the athletes.
"To kind of put it on, it takes a lot of volunteers. Our local vendors, Louie is here. We have a lot of other sponsors that have given their time," said Debardelaben.
Tennis enthusiasts now want to show the USTA they can host more quality tennis tournaments to make this a regular stop on the circuit.
"What we hope to do is make the event a success by having lots of participation, having a great event, an event the players enjoy, the USTA officials enjoy, and then having folks come out to enjoy it. All that put together makes it a success, and gives us the opportunity to have it again," said Bret Peterson, Auburn Community Tennis Association.
The tournament will go on all week— the doubles final are Saturday, July 1 and the singles final on Sunday, July 2.
The champion will earn $25,000 in prize money.