Lima Lights Up Challenger Tour, ‘Arms Large Open’ For Gamers

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 would go to the seashore, attempt 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 event all while not having public transportation.

Whereas that will look like a dream getaway for a lot of, event director Luis Horna, former World No. 33, strives to deliver a house feeling to the rivals on the Lima-2 Challenger.

ATP Challenger Tour 

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

“Miraflores is a effectively situated district right here in Lima. All of the eating places, procuring malls are right here. There’s all the time a very good environment across the event. 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 event, solely behind Montevideo (20), Guayaquil (17), Santiago (15), and Campinas (12).

After a 14 12 months drought of no Peruvians within the High 100, residence hero Juan Pablo Varillas climbed to a career-high No. 97 within the Pepperstone ATP Rankings in August, turning 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.


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

Varillas has been taking part in his residence event 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 Juan Pablo Varillas at 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 after I was younger was ‘Lucho’ [Luis Horna] taking part in Davis Cup,” Varillas stated. “He has been an awesome motivator for us and a job mannequin to observe. Now that I work with him and his administration company, he’s my buddy additionally. It’s a very nice relationship we have now.

“Lima was my first Challenger that I performed after I was in juniors. It’s an awesome feeling to be at residence and it has been a pleasant journey taking part in 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 group. Generally there may be further pressure as a result of there aren’t many tournaments right here in Peru. It’s a bit totally different however I prefer it.”

Horna, who claimed two Tour-level titles (Acapulco 2006 and Vina del Mar 2007), stated he has seen tennis grow to be extra in style because the pandemic and now, virtually each tennis academy in Lima is filled with college students desperate to study. 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 awesome 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 quite a bit to provide 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 very good step, every little thing goes in a very good path.”

Since Horna retired from professional tennis in 2009, he has remained within the sport in quite a lot 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 publish 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 all the time been concerned within the sport one way or the other,” Horna stated. “I like to do it, tennis has given me every little thing in my life, my household, pals. It’s a strategy to communicate with the gamers and assist them. I’m all the time happy to do this.”

Whereas ‘Lucho’ is continually 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 awesome instance of gamers making their pathway to the best stage.

“All the pieces begins on the Challenger Tour,” Horna stated. “We had [Marco] Cecchinato right here in 2017 and the subsequent 12 months he made the semi-finals at Roland Garros. We had [Diego] Schwartzman taking part in right here, the primary Challenger quarter-final of his profession (2012), then he grew to become 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.”

Situated on the Pacific coast and wealthy in South American tradition, Lima has been internet hosting an awesome 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 have 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 residence international locations: Horna (Lima), Andres Gomez (Guayaquil & Salinas, Ecuador), Diego Perez (Montevideo, Uruguay), Santiago Giraldo (Pereira, Colombia), and Nicolas Lapentii (Ambato, Ecuador).

from Tennis – ATP World Tour

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