The Koser Jewelers $25,000 Tennis Challenges brings competitors from around the world to Hempfield Rec Center for a grand USTA Pro Circuit event.
Get to know the players beyond the racquet with these special in-depth looks and personality profiles.
For 10 years, Hempfield Rec Center, the United States Tennis Association Pro Circuit and Koser Jewelers have come together to bring some of the best young female players to Landisville for the Koser Jewelers $25,000 Tennis Challenge. International talent on the way up the sport’s ranks arrive ready to prove their superiority in a hotly contested tournament.
This year, Ksenia Lykina returns for her second shot at victory in an event she finds incredibly rewarding.
“This tournament makes you feel like home. I am traveling all over the world to the tournaments since I was 14 years old and I must say not many of them make you feel like that. The people who run the tournament, the staff, the volunteers – all make you feel like you are so welcomed to be part of the tournament. The Koser tournament is doing a great job of providing lunch, unlimited water, towels, housing and most importantly, a great atmosphere for the players.”
She also praised the numerous events surrounding the tournament itself, some which she was thrilled to participate in.
“I remember that last year, there were a few other events during the tournament, like playing doubles with club members and the meeting with young children that me and my coach Maxim Fillipov took part in. That was a new experience for us and we love it!”
Strategically for the players themselves, Lykina included, the event serves as the final stop on the road to one of the biggest tennis spectaculars in the world. “This tournament is great preparation for the U.S. Open qualifying event for me. That is [another reason] why my coach and I keep coming back.”
The Koser Jewelers event gives players from around the world a break from the monotony of traveling with the pro circuit, something Lykina divulged to this writer.
“To be honest, tennis players don’t get to see around much. It is normally a pretty boring routine on tour: hotel to courts and back to the hotel. But since this tournament provides housing for the players, we get to meet and interact with people. Last year, we had a chance to stay with two great families: Brenda and Pat Moran and Vinitha and Shakeel Amanullah. Also the player party at the Wolgemuth’s house was so much fun. We see a lot of corn fields, too. I have to say, the corn tastes so good!”
A world-traveled competitor, she attributes her return to play after a few setbacks to husband and coach Fillipov. “My coach Maxim Fillipov has worked at National Tennis Federation of Russia in Kazan for three years so we have been practicing there. He has helped me to get back to the Grand Slam-level tournaments after I suffered two injuries and underwent one surgery.” Now back and ready to compete against some of the most talented female players on the globe, she has set her sights on New York and her stop here in central Pennsylvania.