(SAVANNAH, GA) Jan-Michael Gambill given wild card spot in the 2010 Tail USTA $50,000 Savannah Challenger which kicks off at The Landings on Skidaway Island. May 1-9 at the Franklin Creek Tennis Center, www.savannahchallenger.com

Some of professional tennis’ biggest rising stars will descend upon Savannah May 1 to participate in the 2010 Tail USTA $50,000 Savannah Challenger. Among the players competing in the prestigious tournament, which takes place May 1-9 at The Landings on Skidaway Island, are Taylor Dent, who is staging a comeback after a back injury sidelined much of his career, and Jesse Levine, a standout from the 2009 Savannah Challenger who went on defeat 24th-ranked Marat Safin at Wimbledon.

The players competing in the main draw, who hail from countries including the United States, Japan, Argentina, Australia and Great Britain, are vying to win highly coveted ATP ranking points in addition to prize money. The Savannah Challenger takes place on the clay courts of the Franklin Creek Tennis Center and is considered a warm-up for the French Open, which begins May 24 on the clay courts of Roland Garros Stadium in Paris.

Dent, who resides in Bradenton, Florida, has battled back problems on and off for the past decade and spent six months in a full body cast in 2007 following surgeries. The 28 year old began staging his comeback in 2008, and in 2009, he climbed 803 ranking positions, posting the biggest jump of any player in the top 100 from the previous year. Dent went on to compile a 17-6 record in Challengers, taking two titles.

Levine, 22, who resides in Boca Raton, Florida, won seven matches in 2008 at the ATP level and won a Challenger title to finish with a year-end best ranking. One month after defeating Safin at Wimbledon and finishing in the 32nd round in 2009, Levine went on to beat another top-50 player, this time defeating No. 48 Philipp Petzschner at the Campbell’s Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport, Rhode Island.

Also returning to the Savannah Challenger this year is Carstan Ball, 22, who along with his 2009 doubles partner Travis Rettenmaier, won the tournament’s doubles competition. Ball currently has an ATP ranking of 120. In August 2009, Ball, who resides in Newport Beach, California, advanced to his first ATP World Tour final in Los Angeles. In addition to defeating No. 3 seed Marc Gicquel, Ball became the first qualifier in tournament history to reach the final and subsequently climbed from No. 205 to No. 145 in the South African Airways 2009 ATP Rankings.

The qualifying rounds of the Tail USTA $50,000 Savannah Challenger begin on Saturday, May 1, and the finals take place on Sunday, May 9. In addition to the competition, several special events are planned, including a Kids Day Clinic on Sunday, May 2, a fundraising Pro-Am on Sunday May 2, a Player’s Party on Monday, May 3, and a Ladies Day on Thursday, May 6.

The 2010 Tail USTA $50,000 Savannah Challenger is sponsored by Tail Activewear, a leading brand in women’s golf and tennis apparel. The Savannah Challenger and all special activities are open to the public. For a complete list of players competing in the tournament and for more information on the tournament, ticket prices and the special events, please visit http://www.SavannahChallenger.com

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