Big-time pro tennis returns to Atlanta

Jon Barash

Over the course of week (July 20-July 28) the competitive sport of tennis will be inundating the streets of Atlanta with the 2013 BB&T Atlanta Open located at Atlantic Station. The BB&T Atlanta Open is an ATP 250 World Tour event that has been played at Atlantic Station for the past two years and is currently in its third year of a five-year deal. The tournament will also be broadcasted live by ESPN2 and Tennis Channel in front of at least 30,000 avid tennis fans. The prize money is a nice chunk of change sitting at a grand total of $546,930. Each tournament winner(s) is allocated a decent percentage of the prize money. In this tournament, the singles winner will be awarded $98,700 and the doubles winners will split $30,000.



The BB&T Atlanta Open, which will be played on hard court, consists of a singles main draw, doubles main draw and qualifiers draw. The singles main draw possesses a total of 28 players with four players coming from qualifying. In doubles there will be a 16-team main draw. Last, but not least, is qualifying, which consists of a 32-player singles draw.

The BB&T Atlanta Open has been nothing short of a hit within the tennis community in Atlanta as well as the city of Atlanta itself. People from all over the area have flocked over to Atlantic Station to watch incredible tennis matches right before their eyes, and 2013 should be another special time for the tennis faithful.

This event plays a lucrative role in ushering in the almighty dollar to the city, host, sponsor, charities, etc.

“I think certainly we’ve had some convention and visitors bureau reports that were done last year that showed well over a $10 million economic impact to the city, so certainly that’s important,” said Bob Bryant, tennis tournament director.

“We’re just doing a ton in terms of clinics for kids, in terms of engaging a lot of things the community wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to in an event like this and even on the fundraising side,” said Bryant.

The Mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed has acknowledged the fact that this tournament has benefited the city and also understands how vibrant and strong the tennis community is in Atlanta.

Having an event like this with a very competitive field creates a solid opportunity for exposure.

“This is also tremendous exposure for the city given that it’s a national broadcast for ESPN2 and Tennis Channel,” said Bryant. “Also, 18-20 countries that we do broadcast arrangements with as well are really showing the center of the city as this vibrant environment in the tournament.”

The location of the BB&T Atlanta Open is in a superb setting at Atlantic Station. The players and fans are impressed with the facility and its amenities which comprise of a multiplex movie theatre and a vast amount of shops and restaurants. Atlantic Station also has magnificent view of Atlanta’s skyline. The tournament has two years left on its current agreement with Atlantic Station and thoughts about renewal have been brought up.

“It’s been beneficial to both parties and we all intend to keep it going as long as we can,” said Bryant.



The 2013 BB&T Atlanta Open is full of talent and will be a spectacle for all who attend the event. In regards to the doubles draw, Bryant is thrilled about the lineup that will be competing.

“I’m extremely excited; this is the best doubles lineup that we’ve ever had,” said Bryant.

The Bryan Brothers will likely be the favorites to win the doubles. After making history at Wimbledon, the Bryan’s became the first men’s doubles team in the history of Open-era tennis to hold all four major titles at the same time. The combination of Bob and Mark Bryan create the best duo in tennis history and it will take fierce competition to derail their momentum.

“Getting the Bryan brothers here was great,” said Bryant. “But actually if you look at the lineup, we’ve got several top 20 world doubles teams that are playing and these unique matchups of an Australian Davis Cup team in Lleyton Hewitt and Chris Guccione to James Blake and Jack Sock–two Americans who have actually played very well together and won a tournament before as a doubles team earlier this year.”

Having all of these phenomenal doubles teams competing in this tournament is beneficial for the tennis community of Atlanta considering the city has more people playing in doubles leagues and doubles tournaments than anywhere in the country.

In the singles-draw, the talent pool continues. Mardy Fish, the 2011 and 2012 champion, returns to attempt to win three out of four tournaments. It would be his first BB&T Atlanta Open.

Veteran Lleyton Hewitt continues to maintain a competitive nature throughout the course of his career and he looks to add some flavor the field of competitors in the singles draw.

John Isner, a University of Georgia graduate, is a fan favorite who finished runner-up in 2010-2011. Isner certainly has the game and imposing attributes that make him a scary opponent. The former UGA star realizes how close he has come and has his eyes set on 2013.

“He really wants Atlanta,” said Bryant.

Nathan Pasha, a current UGA student-athlete, is competing in the qualifying draw for singles and is a legitimate threat to make the cut. At UGA in the 2012-13 tennis season, Pasha led the Bulldogs in singles victories and was named first team All-SEC and SEC Championships All-Tournament team. The sophomore has been highly impressive in his college career and looks the make a name for himself in Atlanta.

With the overall talent pool and the location of the event being picture perfect, the 2013 BB&T Atlanta Open has all the ingredients for a special tournament.


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