It appears the BB&T Atlanta Open has come of age.
Now in its fifth year, Atlanta’s men’s tennis, ATP World Tour 250 event will draw over 30,000 fans to a cozy and beautiful tennis stadium right at Atlantic Station in Midtown, and awards over $568,000 in prize money to professional tennis players from all over the world.
It also has attracted some of the best tennis players in the world, and all of the top American players.
The action began at 4 p.m. on Monday as Sam Querrey, and American that has been ranked in the top-20 took on former NCAA singles champ, Steve Johnson.
These two are good friends off the court and both knew it was only a matter of time before they duked it out on the court.
Querrey earned the hard fought 7-6, 7-5 win, and he felt it was a great way to start his summer.
“It’s huge,” admitted the Las Vegas resident. “This is the time of the year where I need to put my foot down. I need to jump back into the 20s.”
Johnson took the loss in stride, but he knows it’s a long summer.
The second singles match on Stadium Court featured another American player, and Atlanta resident, Donald Young. Young took on a veteran from Israel in Dudi Sela, and it’s wasn’t pretty, if you were in the Young rooting section.
All Sela had to do was keep the ball in play and Young would eventually produce an unforced error. In fact, Young only won eight points in the entire second set of the 6-3, 6-0 defeat.
It left Young looking for answers as he has only won one main draw match in the five-year history of this event.
“I thought I was in a good state of mind. I haven’t had good results at home. Nothing worked.”
Defending champion and top seed, John Isner, a former All-American at the University of Georgia, won’t play until Wednesday or Thursday, but he spoke to the media Tuesday afternoon.
He says this tournament is important to him.
“It’s a tough field and I will do my best,” said the 6’10” tennis player.
In keeping with the University of Georgia theme, Bulldog great and Heisman Trophy winner, Herschel Walker will be in attendance on Tuesday night for a coin toss and to meet UGA fans.
First round singles and doubles matches continue on Tuesday and the tennis action run through Sunday.
More information is at www.bbtatlantaopen.com.