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Winston-Salem Open


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"Big-time tennis and big-name tennis players are nothing new to Winston-Salem. It was Jimmy Connors and Guillermo Vilas at the Tanglewood Invitational in the ’70s; Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras and Jim Courier at the Flow Motors Invitational in the ’80s and ’90s; and Andy Roddick, James Blake and the Bryan brothers helping the United States to Davis Cup victories in 2001, 2007 and 2008."

"The Winston-Salem Open is one of 11 professional tournaments at the ATP level in the United States. The others vary from the small resort cities of Indian Wells, Calif.; Delray Beach, Fla.; and Newport, R.I., to such major metropolitan areas as Memphis, Tenn.; Miami; Atlanta; Washington; Cincinnati; and Houston."

"When people ask me if the tournament is going to be here next year, I say yes," Oakes said. "Owning an ATP tournament islike owning an NFL franchise. Now, could the NFL take away the Cleveland Browns from the city of Cleveland? Yes they could, but they wouldn't unless they did something very bad. This tournament is here to stay. We are committed to Winston-Salem. Many of our sponsors are committed through the year 2020, and we have a TV deal in place for a number of years. We are in a good long-term position to be successful for many years to come."

Mark Young, the CEO of ATP Americas and chief legal and media officer, echoed Oakes' sentiments. "The event organizers, led by Don Flow and Bill Oakes, have done a great job in the event's last three years," he said by email. "It is very important for us to maintain a strong foothold in this region (of the country)."

Young said the tournament has received rave reviews from players and fans alike. "The organizers have done a great job of attracting many of the world's best players to compete in Winston-Salem, as well as ensuring that all the players' needs are taken care of," Young said. "The Winston-Salem event is unique on the Tour in that it is set on a college campus. The facilities are state of the art, and with more than 35,000 fans coming through each of the past three years, it has been by terrific to see the event so well received by local fans."

Tennis commentator Patrick McEnroe, who was captain of the three Davis Cup teams to play in Winston-Salem, said he is not surprised that the Winston-Salem Open has been such a success. "Some of my best memories ever in tennis were those Davis Cup matches in Winston-Salem," said McEnroe in a telephone interview. "I know that after we played Spain (in 2007) and the players found out we were going back to Winston-Salem again to play France the next year, the guys were so excited."


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"Confidence isn’t all that David Goffin has going for him right now, but it certainly didn’t hurt him at the Winston-Salem Open on Monday. Goffin,.a 25-year-old Belgian and a qualifier to the Open, maintained his torrid summer pace and upended Jurgen Melzer, the defending champion, 6-3, 6-4 in the first round at Center Court."


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  • 2 years later...

The Winston-Salem Open was selected as co-winner of the ATP World Tour 250 series Tournament of the Year, according to the ATP. The Triad’s men’s professional tennis tournament, held in August at Wake Forest University for the past six years, shared the 250 series honor with the Stockholm Open in Sweden. The Tournament of the Year awards, voted annually by ATP players, recognize the leading standards set across the three tournament categories on the Tour.

Tournament Director Bill Oakes said the players don’t simply vote for the tournament with the best food in the players’ dining room or the nicest courtesy cars. Rather, they consider factors such as spectator and sponsor support in their selections. Oakes said Kevin Anderson, who won the 2015 Winston-Salem while climbing as high as 10th in the world, was one of the players who praised the Winston-Salem tournament.

“From talking to the players, I know they evaluate the whole experience,” Oakes said. “(Anderson) told me that from top to bottom we really meet what the tour should be from the players’ perspective.” Oakes said the nonprofit event donated a “five-figure” amount to local organizations, including Forsyth County middle school athletics.

“We’re doing well,” Oakes told Triad Business Journal. “We feel good about our longtime viability for the future.”

The 2017 Winston-Salem Open is scheduled for Aug. 20-27

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