The ATP took a stop at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex for the Winston-Salem Open this week with overwhelming success. The ATP 250 tournament showcased three top 10 players, #6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, #7 Tomas Berdych, and #10 Greensboro native John Isner, along with 23 players in the top 50.
The byline "Big Time Tennis, Served Southern Style," is very fitting. The quiet, relaxing environment served as a perfect prelude to the raucous at the U.S. Open in New York next week.
Players and ATP employees alike praised the Winston-Salem Open for its organization, its facilities, its crowds, and its tennis environment. One line judge exclaimed, "Everyone is just so damn nice here."
Winston-Salem natives adopted the tournament as their own. Attendance was up significantly in the tournament's second year. "Whatever my expectations were, they were exceeded by 100 percent," Bill Oakes, the tournament's director, said to the Winston-Salem Journal.
The tournament has given Wake Forest and the city of Winston-Salem a lot of positive attention, with the quarterfinals and semifinals being aired on ESPN2 and the Tennis Channel and the championship on CBS.
Most commercial breaks open with a view of Wait Chapel and a sight of the Winston-Salem skyline. The tournament enhances the national reputation of the institution and the regional city.
In addition, the tournament and the phenomenal new facilities are great news to the Wake Forest tennis program.
In his first season, men's coach Tony Kresky finished 13-15 overall and tenth in the ACC. Yet, he reeled in the eighth ranked recruiting class, according to TennisRecruiting.net, adding one blue-chip, four five-stars, and a four star. Kresky sold the recruits on the academics, the elite facilities, the future of the program and the opportunity the Winston-Salem Open provides the players.
The tournament gave wild cards into the qualifying tournament to recent Wake Forest graduate David Hopkins and senior Amogh Prabhakar. Many other players were on the grounds practicing against ATP players.
The women's team looks to bounce back after a rough 3-18 season, finishing last in the ACC. Yet second year coach Jeff Wyshner still managed to bring in a 25th ranked recruiting class, according to TennisRecruiting.net, adding one blue-chip, an international player from Spain and a two star.
The future of Demon Deacons tennis looks very bright.
The tournament finished as at it began-- picturesque.
Isner won the tournament for the second straight year. The Marathon Man went the distance in his final two matches, upsetting the top seed Tsonga 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-3), and defeating the second seed Berdych 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (11-9). He faced three championship points, but labored for the victory in front of the home crowd.
All of us here at BSD are so happy to see the Winston-Salem Open thrive and look forward to another great event in 2013 and years beyond.