WINNIPEG – 19-year-old Winnipeg wild card Kevin Kylar is the number one ranked player in the province and is chasing his first Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) point.
If he wins a match at the Manshield Tennis Futures tournament held in Winnipeg this weekend, he will become the first professionally ranked Manitoba tennis player ever to do so.
“It was a dream of mine since I was about ten to get a point on the computer so it would be very nice if I could do it,” said Kylar.
He grew up on Winnipeg tennis courts and still trains with his father here.
He is now starting to compete internationally to pursue his dream of playing the ATP tour.
“The travel is what’s killing us because we travel a lot,” said his father and coach, George Kylar. “We spent at least half of the nights this year already in hotel rooms.”
While Kylar hopes the home court will give him an advantage, he will be up against some of the best tennis talent from around the world.
Combined with the CIBC Wood Gundy Challenger, this is the fifth largest tournament in Canada this year. Some of the players are moving on to play the US Open next.
“The level is extremely good and these athletes are giving it their all their traveling the world,” said Mark Arndt, the executive director of Tennis Manitoba. “They’re living on a shoestring budget.”
Qualifying matches start this weekend at the Winnipeg Lawn Tennis Club.
“You look at (Milos) Raonic and (Eugine) Bouchard and what they have done for Canadian tennis as a whole,” said Kylar. “Now if you have somebody maybe on a lower level who can somewhat make it, then it would help kids in Winnipeg say maybe I can do it too if I work hard.”