Atlanta may be the U.S. capital of postseason collapses by its sports franchises, but it is also–arguably–the capital of tennis. In keeping with that distinction, its annual ATP tournament got a boost to its eighth year when Nick Kyrgios announced on Monday that he is making a return trip to defend his 2016 BB&T Atlanta Open title.
“I’m looking forward returning to Atlanta to start my U.S. summer and defend the BB&T Atlanta Open title,” Kyrgios commented. “Last year the crowds were great and it was probably the best week I’ve had on and off the court in a long time. It was just rewarding that I played well.”
Tournament director Eddie Gonzalez also announced that America’s top-ranked player Jack Sock is returning. Sock, who has already won two titles this year in Auckland and Delray Beach, owns one semifinal finish (2014) in four previous appearances in Atlanta.
“Obviously I’ll be trying to build on the past success I’ve had at the BB&T Atlanta Open, and I’ll be looking forward to seeing a lot of familiar faces in July at Atlantic Station,” said Sock. “It’s going to be a strong U.S. Open Series event to start the summer and I’ll have to be at my best to win.”
Kyrgios was not exactly at his best the entire way last summer, but the 21-year-old Australian battled to three-set victories over Fernando Verdasco and Yoshihito Nishioka in the quarters and semis, respectively, before edging John Isner 7-6(3), 7-6(4) in the title match. Isner had been the three-time defending champion.
Although there is only a men’s event in Atlanta, two of the WTA Tour’s biggest names will also be on hand at Atlantic Station. Gonzalez announced on Monday that Venus Williams and Genie Bouchard will play an exhibition match on Sunday night, July 23, prior to the start of main-draw action on Monday.
“Atlanta has such a rich sports and tennis tradition and it’s been over 10 years since I’ve had a chance to play a match there,” Williams explained. “I’m looking forward to hopefully playing in front of a big crowd and that is also an enthusiastic tennis audience.”
“Our 2017 BB&T Atlanta Open will be our biggest and best to date by providing a mix of marquee established players along with the rising stars of tennis,” Gonzalez promised. “It will be interesting to see how Nick goes about his title defense, and whether Jack Sock can get closer to cracking the ATP top 10. Equally exciting is having the great American champion Venus Williams make her first trip to Atlanta in almost 15 years. She’s an inspiration to tennis fans and players around the world. Genie Bouchard is the perfect opponent for Venus, and Atlanta tennis fans will enjoy the professional brand of women’s tennis.”