INDIAN WELLS, Calif. - The Indian Wells Tennis Garden -- home of the BNP Paribas Open -- will host two new professional tennis tournaments, with direct implications for next year's annual tourney, it was announced Wednesday.
The Oracle Challenger Series will feature a men's and women's event just prior to the 2018 BNP Paribas Open, with the top two male and female Americans to be awarded wild cards into the main draw at BNP Paribas.
The series will be held from Feb. 24 through March 4 in Indian Wells, with two other events to be hosted at the Newport Beach Tennis Club in January.
A total of $150,000 in prize money will be awarded at each tournament, according to Oracle Corp.
"Tennis players in the United States need more chances to compete at home and more chances to earn a living from the sport,'' Oracle CEO Mark Hurd said.
Oracle is committed to American tennis and these events are designed to provide opportunities for players to make meaningful gains in both prize money and ranking points on their home soil. We hope to continue to grow the number of events annually in the years ahead.''
Association of Tennis Professionals and Women's Tennis Association rankings will determine who participates in the Oracle Challenger Series.
Officials from ATP and WTA said the new tournaments would be a boon for American tennis.
"Our players in the United States are eager for more opportunities like this,'' said Chris Kermode, ATP World Tour executive chairman and president. "We're so pleased to partner with a company like Oracle to further promote and develop tennis in the United States.''
Steve Simon, chairman and CEO of the WTA, said: "We are thrilled that Oracle is making this commitment to grow the pathway for young emerging national and regional talent here in the USA to reach their goal of competing on the WTA Tour. This will lead to great things for tennis in America.''
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