There are no free lunches in professional tennis.
There are no guaranteed contracts either. In tennis, you acquire a ranking by acquiring points. You acquire points by advancing in tournaments: the bigger the tournament the more points available. Once you acquire points, they are yours for 52 weeks. Then they go vamoose. Poof, they're gone.
So that's how it works. To help put this in perspective for you, the top ranked player in the world is Novak Djokovic. He currently has 11,420 points. The winner of the Knoxville Challenger this week will earn themselves a mere 80 points.
Whoah! That's a tough ladder to climb. For real, yo. For real.
Both former Vols are still climbing this week. Tennys Sandgren took out the top seed in three sets before taking out the Swiss guy who had just taken the Australian guy (who happens to be a current Vol). Tomorrow Sandgren has another Australian fella (who is not a current Vol).
Rhyne Williams took out fellow American and former Texas A&M Aggie Austin Krajicek before taking out the German guy (4th seed) who had just taken out the guy from New Zealand. Tomorrow he has the 7th seed, Tim Smyczek, a fellow American who we are strongly encouraging buy a vowel.
Sandgren will play in the afternoon. Williams will go on in the evening. Here is a link to the main draw and order of play. And if they don't keep track of your bandwidth at work, here is a link to delightfully refreshing live streaming video.