ATLANTA - BB&T Atlanta Open Tournament Director Eddie Gonzalez announced Monday morning that Grand Slam champion, Venus Williams, and Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, Genie Bouchard, who's ranked No. 1 in Canada, will be featured in a special July 23 women's exhibition evening session.
Gonzalez added that defending champion, Nick Kyrgios, along with the United States #1 Ranked player, Jack Sock, will lead a star-studded summer field at the BB&T Atlanta Open, to be held July 22-30, 2017 in Atlantic Station.
Kyrgios, the 21-year old from Canberra, AUS is currently #17 on the ATP World Tour singles rankings. He is the holder of three ATP World Tour titles (2016: Marseille, Atlanta, and Tokyo). In 2016, Kyrgios defeated three-time BB&T Atlanta Open champion, John Isner, 7-6(3), 7-6(4) to win his first Americas title.
"I'm looking forward returning to Atlanta to start my US summer and defend the BB&T Atlanta Open title," states Kyrgios. "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."
Top-ranked American, Sock, is 24 years old, and he is currently ranked No. 18 on the ATP World Tour singles rankings. Sock has already won two titles in 2017 (Auckland and Delray Beach), and has an 11-1 record to date this year. Sock has played in the BB&T Atlanta Open on four occasions, reaching the semifinals once (2014).
"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 US Open Series event to start the summer, and I'll have to be at my best to win."
In keeping with the BB&T Atlanta Open's tradition of kicking off a star-studded week of ATP World Tour action with something unique and different, two of the biggest stars from the WTA Tour--Williams and Bouchard will play a feature exhibition match on Sunday, July 23 on Stadium Court.
Williams has been ranked No. 1 by the WTA Tour on three separate occasions has won seven Grand Slam singles titles, 14 Grand Slam doubles titles and two mixed doubles championships. The elder Williams' sister also has four Olympic gold medals and one silver to her credit. This is a rare opportunity to see Venus play in the Atlanta market.
"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,” said Williams. “I'm looking forward to hopefully playing in front of a big crowd and that is also an enthusiastic tennis audience."
Bouchard, 23, is a former WTA Tour No. 5 and Wimbledon finalist. She is known for her off-the-court work as well as her shot-making on the court. She appeared in last month's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and showed her basketball skills in the 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend Celebrity Game held at Toronto.
Williams and Bouchard have a 1-1 career head-to-head.
“Our 2017 BB&T Atlanta Open will be our biggest & best to date by providing a mix of marquee established players along with the rising stars of tennis,” said an excited Gonzalez. “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. GF Sports is really proud to present this diverse offering to our tennis fans and sports fans. All should plan to be there.”
Ticket packages for the BB&T Atlanta Open, the only ATP Tour event in Georgia, go on sale Monday during World Tennis Day.
The goal of World Tennis Day is to promote the sport of tennis and increase tennis participation around the globe. The worldwide platform culminates with the playing of the BNP Paribas Showdown at Madison Square Garden on March 6. This year's Showdown features BB&T Atlanta Open players Kyrgios, Sock and Williams.
The BB&T Atlanta Open has welcomed over 280,000 fans to Atlantic Station over the past seven years, establishing itself as one of the top ATP Tour tennis events in the US. Tickets for the 2017 BB&T Atlanta Open can be purchased at http://www.bbtatlantaopen.com/.
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