Player Field for 2015 BB&T Atlanta Open Rolled Out on Media Day
Steen Kirby, Tennis Atlantic
On a hot summer day at Atlantic Station in the heart of downtown Atlanta, the 2015 BB&T Atlanta Open, led by tournament director Eddie Gonzalez, held court for media day and announced nearly the entire player field for the upcoming edition of the tournament, held July 25-August 2nd at Atlantic Station, where it has been held since 2012, with new things being added to the location each year.
Before getting to the player field it’s worth mentioning that various dignitaries were on hand from BB&T Atlanta Open sponsors BB&T, Lexus, Prince Tennis. This was along with official charity partner the YMCA, and stalwarts in support of tennis in the southeast and in Atlanta from both the USTA southern section, and the recreational Atlanta Lawn Tennis association (ALTA).
Lexus is bringing in the fuzzy ball SUV, a Lexus NX wrapped in the felt of a tennis ball, for this years tournament, along with sponsoring the perfect serve display, where fans can test the power of their serves much like the pitching machines you see at baseball games. Prince is the official sponsor of the sport court, a 36 foot court designed to encourage especially the youngest fans at the BB&T Atlanta Open, and Atlantic Station to get in the game and enjoy themselves with a hitaround.
As for the players who will be testing their own serves and taking to a larger court, Georgia Tech head men’s tennis coach Kenny Thorne was on hand and pleased with the fact that his own singles #1 Christopher Eubanks, a 6-7 Atlanta native who just completed his first year with the Yellow Jackets men’s tennis team, will have the honor of starring in college night on Tuesday evening as he has been selected as one of the main draw wild cards. Eubanks is currently in Halle, Germany working as a hitting partner with Donald Young, and will be training with DY over the summer on the road to Atlanta and the Emirates US Open Series in July.
Along with Eubanks, another young American talent, the celebrated Marylander Frances Tiafoe is the recipient of a main draw wild card, Tiafoe, who recently turned pro this spring as a 17 year old, won the USTA French Open wild card due to his strong play on the pro circuit, and now he is sure to feature on the US Open Series, hoping to score a big upset or two.
Besides Eubanks and Tiafoe, pretty much the entire American men’s tennis contingent will be taking part in the 2015 Open, including young American Jack Sock, Steve Johnson, Ryan Harrison, Tim Smyczek, the aforementioned Young, two-time and defending champion John Isner, a local favorite, and Mardy Fish, who will once again attempt a comeback, now age 33. The world #1 doubles team the Bryan Brothers will be the top seeds of a very strong doubles field that should also include recent French Open doubles champion Ivan Dodig.
Fish, like Isner, is a two-time champion in Atlanta, and the other big announcement today was the fact that himself, and his good friend Andy Roddick, another former Atlanta Open champion, and long time American #1 will be taking a one-off wild card to compete in the doubles tournament this year. Roddick will also face Tiafoe in an exhibition of the most notable representative of American tennis recent past, and a player of its promising future. Last year Fish and Roddick had similar plans in the summer, but they were prevented from following through as Roddick hadn’t re-entered the drug testing program after retirement within enough time to be sanctioned to play ATP tennis again. Given the popularity of both Americans they are sure to fill the stands for their doubles match.
The international contingent that has made plans to take part in the Open hails from as close as our neighbors to the north, as Canadian Vasek Pospisil will look to excel in singles, and also in doubles with his aforementioned partner Sock, and as far away as Cyprus and Israel, as ATP veterans Marcos Baghdatis, a former slam finalist, and Dudi Sela, the defending finalist and Israeli #1 are both taking part.
Other veterans besides the ones mentioned above include Gilles Muller, a former finalist in Atlanta, Janko Tipsarevic, a former top 10 player on the comeback trail from injury, serve and volley specialist Radek Stepanek, and Benjamin Becker, a German who played his college tennis at Baylor and has strong American ties.
Rounding out the field are highlight generating players Adrian Mannarino, and Alex Dolgopolov, who have unique styles of play, and former finalist Kevin Anderson, who might as well be an honorary American given his ties to college tennis and more, though he hails from South Africa by birth. Mannarino is currently having a career year, as he beat French Open champion Stan Wawrinka in Miami this year, while Dolgopolov is looking to recapture the form that saw him become a threat to the game’s elite in years gone by.
One more main draw wild card is still hanging out there, and other changes could take place in the singles and doubles field of the ATP 250 event, but one thing is for sure, the BB&T Atlanta Open will offer world class tennis, and world class fun July 25-August 2nd at Atlantic Station. The Open is the first stop on the Emirates US Open Series as well and for more information, including how to purchase your tickets please visit http://www.bbtatlantaopen.com