The Atlanta Open brings the heat

Between great tennis, (some) sunshine, and the ‘Bro Down Showdown,’ what’s not to love?
Ryan Harrison signs autographs at the Atlanta Open

Photograph by Allison Brooks

Tennis fans rejoice: the BB&T Atlanta Open is in full force this week. The tournament began Saturday and the first round of the main draw started yesterday. Both the singles and doubles championship matches will be played on Sunday, July 28.

Catch some of the area’s rising stars as well as beloved players such as Mardy Fish, James Blake, and UGA alum John Isner. But don’t expect the infamous Bryan brothers—they pulled at out the last minute due to injury.

Atlanta has hosted the tournament since 2010, but BB&T signed on only last year as the title sponsor. This is also the second year the tournament’s home has been in Atlantic Station. Although the courts are temporary, the tournament has a great setup. Between matches, fans can play cornhole in the food court, buy freshly squeezed lemonade, and wander Vendor Row—a street where fans can meet players and sponsors have set up tents.

Like clockwork, our daily thunderstorm raged Monday afternoon, causing an almost hour-long rain delay. However, the tournament crew dried off the courts as quickly as possible and play resumed in what felt like 110-degree heat. Luckily, some of the sponsors handed out racket-shaped cardboard paddles so people could fan themselves. Note, if you plan to attend: WEAR SUNSCREEN.

After a day of intense qualifying and first-round matches, organizers staged an exhibition match, the “Bro Down Showdown,” a doubles round-robin mini-tournament, that featured the Blake brothers, the Sock brothers, the Harrison brothers, and Kevin King and Juan Spir (doubles partners from Georgia Tech who filled in for the Bryans). The informal, low-key matches allowed the players to roam freely and trash talk. During the final, the Socks and the Blakes let four ball boys play a few points as the “host” caught up with the Harrison brothers and the Yellow Jackets duo. Ryan Harrison even got pantsed by his younger brother, Christian, at one point.

Monday’s results:
Singles, first round:
R. Williams (USA) def. D. Kudla (USA) 7-5 6-4
R. Harrison (USA) def. M. Matosevic (AUS) 6-2 2-6 6-3

Doubles, first round:
[3] C. Fleming (GRB) / J. Marray (GRB) def. E. Donskoy (RUS) / D. Istomin (UZB) 6-3 7-6(5)

Qualifying Singles, third round:
M. Ebden (AUS) def. C. Guccione (AUS) 6-4 7-6(2)
T. Smyczek (USA) def. D. Young (USA) 7-5 7-6(3)
M. Zverev (GER) def. P. Amritraj (IND) 6-4 6-2
K. King (USA) def. R. Ginepri (USA) 2-6 6-4 6-4