By Rick Limpert
Atlanta tennis fans can once again make plans for where they will be come the end of July.
Live professional tennis is set to return to Atlanta and Atlantic Station this summer at the 2021 Truist Atlanta Open, running from July 24 to August 1. The event’s best singles and doubles draw in its history is expected, as is an exciting women’s Sunday Showdown exhibition on the opening Sunday evening, featuring US Open champions Kim Clijsters and Sloane Stephens. Clijsters is making her first Atlanta appearance. The 2021 event will strictly adhere to all CDC, state, and local health and safety guidelines to ensure a safe experience throughout the venue.
Tournament Director Eddie Gonzalez is glad to be back. He says along with the tennis their focus is putting a premium on safety. “I could not be more excited about live tennis and in-person attendance at Atlantic Station this summer. These are the best tennis players in the world, and we have the best tennis fans in the world. We are working with local officials, the city of Atlanta, and our medical advisors to offer a safe, healthy and fun event to all involved, from the players to sponsors, fans, officials, volunteers, and staff.”
Five-time Atlanta singles champion, John Isner was the first player committed to the draw. “I’m looking forward to seeing all the Georgia Bulldog and tennis fans in Atlanta this July!,” he said. “Missing a year is making it even more special. Atlanta has always been the start of my U.S. summer hard court season, and I’ll be shooting for another Truist Atlanta Open title in 2021!”
Isner will be joined by two fellow Americans looking for their first Atlanta title, Taylor Fritz and Reilly Opelka.
Fritz, a native of Rancho Santa Fe, California, is currently the highest-ranked American by the ATP at No. 31. He was a singles finalist in 2019, losing in two close sets to Alex de Minaur. So far in 2021, the 6’4” righty has reached the semifinals in events at Doha and Cagliari. He reached a career-high ranking of No. 24 in 2020.
The big-serving Opelka has been a fixture in the ATP top-50 since mid-2019. He returns to the site of his first ATP semifinal with two career singles titles and an opportunity to rise up the rankings. Opelka just reached his first ATP 1,000 semifinal in Rome. The Delray Beach, Florida resident plays his best tennis on hard courts and being 6’11” helps his serve and return in the summer heat. Opelka has said on numerous occasions that the summer conditions in Atlanta suit his game.
“It’s important we have the best Americans in Atlanta at the Truist Atlanta Open,” said Gonzalez. “Taylor and Reilly have supported our event with not only their play on the court, but also by participating in activations and events with our patrons and partners.”
The Truist Atlanta Open annually features tennis’ version of “Rocky Balboa,” or just the opportunity of a lifetime for one of the best college players in the country — “College Night” at the 2021 Truist Atlanta Open.
The University of Georgia’s Trent Bryde was offered the main draw singles wildcard.
Bryde is a junior on the tennis team, playing No.1 singles this season. Nationally, he is Georgia’s highest-ranked player in both singles (No. 12) and doubles (No. 8/Tyler Zink). Bryde led the Bulldogs into the NCAA team tournament and also qualified for the NCAAs in singles and doubles. “I’ve been playing in the qualifier of this since I was 15 years old,” said Bryde upon accepting the wildcard. “Eddie Gonzalez is a tournament director that wants to give opportunities to young players. It’s so big for us to jump-start our career and I can’t wait to play the top guys in the world. It’s going to be a fun night.”
Along with players, having a title sponsor with strong Atlanta ties benefits everyone.
“At Truist, supporting our communities is among the ways we deliver on our purpose of inspiring and building better lives and communities,” said Jenna Kelly, Truist Northern Georgia Regional President. “The Truist Atlanta Open is a major event that brings great tennis to Atlanta and also helps give back to our community. We are excited to see professional tennis back in Atlanta again at Atlantic Station this summer.”
2021 is shaping up to be a big return to Atlantic Station. Don’t miss any of the action.