ATP Tennis Skips Winston-Salem In 2020 Due To COVID-19

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Winston Salem Open Tennis 2015 at night Tsonga2020 would have marked the tenth year for the internationally known ATP tennis tournament, The Winston-Salem Open. It was scheduled for August 22-29, 2020.

But, sadly, the WS Open is cancelled for the year due to coronavirus COVID-19 safety precautions and the USTA prioritizing bigger tournaments leading up to the U.S. Open in August. There are rumors that even the U.S. Open will play to empty stadiums in Flushing Meadows, NY.

So, we will look forward to ATP tennis’ return to Winston-Salem in the summer of 2021 at the recently renovated grounds of Wake Forest University’s tennis facility.

In addition to the ATP main event, the 2019 event also featured a WTA women’s exhibition match between top-ranked Ashleigh Barty & young American superstar, Cory “Coco” Gauff on Wednesday night during the tournament. This event sold out in just 3 days! We are hopeful to see the WTA back again in the future.

2021 ticket sales are expected to start in early June 2021.

Players To Watch

Big name American tennis stars who committed to play in 2019 included Sam Querrey (former Wimbledon semi-finalist, USA), Steve Johnson (last year’s runner-up, USA) and Frances Tiafoe (quarterfinalist at 2019 Australian Open, USA). The most interesting players this year include the first time visit for Andy Murray (2-time Wimbledon champion and former world #1) and Denis Shapovalov (up and comer who has famously beat Nadal, Del Potro and Medvedev in his young singles career). Two top 20 players have committed as well: Borna Coric and Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Players who played in 2018 included Sam Querrey (USA), Steve Johnson (USA), Borna Coric (rank 14),  Nikoloz Basilashvili (rank 16),  Pablo Carreno Busta (former WS Open Champion), Tomas Berdych (former WS Open semi-finalist), Daniel Evans, Bradley Klahn (USA), Nicolas Jarry, and Mikhail Kukushkin, among others.

In 2018 we were also treated to opportunities to watch these up and coming, Next Gen players – Tennys Sandgren (USA), Daniil Medvedev, Alex de Minaur and Hyeon Chung. It will be interesting to see who shows up as Wild Cards or Alternates as we move closer to the event.

Past Champions

The winner of the 2019 championship was Hubert Hurkacz, a first time participant and Next Gen rising star. It was the first championship title in an ATP event for the 22 year-old Polish man.

While Triad-native and top American, John Isner, was back for the 2017 tournament, he did not return in 2018 and has no plans to attend in 2019. He is the original King of the Winston-Salem Open, having won the first two years championship crown. However, he canceled a few times in recent years due to injuries and desire to rest before the U.S. Open, which starts the following week. Isner is also a local who grew up in nearby Greensboro, NC, and his family still calls the Triad home, so he gets to enjoy some of his mom’s home cooking during the tournament.

2019Hubert HurkaczBenoit Paire
2018Danil MedvedevSteve Johnson
2017Roberto Bautista AgutDamir Dzumhur
2016Pablo Carreno BustaRoberto Bautista Agut
2015Kevin AndersonPierre-Hugues Herbert
2014Lukas RosolJerzy Janowicz
2013Jurgen MelzerGael Monfils
2012John IsnerTomas Berdych
2011John IsnerJulien Benneteau

WTA: Women’s Exhibition Match Featuring Ash Barty & Coco Gauff

For the first time in Winston-Salem Open history, two female tennis stars played an exhibition match in 2019 as a part of the tournament. At the time of announcement, Ashleigh Barty was the top ranked female tennis player after winning this year’s French Open. She faced off against the biggest sensation from Wimbledon 2019,  the15-year-old American Cory “Coco” Gauff!

Gauff is just hitting the WTA scene but she is making a huge splash as the 15-year-old took out Venus Williams at Wimbledon. She also won the 2018 French Open Junior Girls title and is ready to play big at the US Open.

Barty is a 23 years old from Australia and is also just starting to make a name for herself. It’s not every day that we get to see a No. 1 ranked tennis player grace the Wake Forest Tennis Complex.

In addition to the exhibition, the two players spent a few days around town while training and resting up for the US Open the following week. Our surface is reported to be very similar to the courts in New York, making this a great way to get competitive match play under their belt leading up to the last Grand Slam of the calendar year.

“I was excited because we know that getting prepared for the year’s final major on the women’s side is very difficult. But they see what we offer is a great place to rest and prepare,” said Winston-Salem Open tournament director Bill Oakes.

The exhibition match was scheduled for 7pm on Wednesday, August 21, 2019, and included in the night ticket. Coco Gauff took the trophy for this historic match.Winston-Salem Open Tennis Draw 2017

Winston Salem Open Draw?

Wondering who’s playing next year? The draw is made up of 48 players for men’s singles and 16 teams for men’s doubles. Prize money amounts to $720,940. The draw is selected at a draw party on Friday night, the day before qualifying matches start.

We attended the draw party in 2017 and got the scoop (and even helped pick players!). Julien Benneteau was in attendance. Once announced, the draws for singles and qualifying will be posted on the WS Open website. Who’s your favorite player and who will you be rooting on throughout the tournament? Let us know in the comments!

How To Buy Winston-Salem Open Tickets

2021 tickets sales are expected to start in early June 2021. Tickets can be purchased online at, by calling (336) 758-6409 or in person at the Wake Forest ticket office located at Bridger Field House at BB&T Field. If you are a local tennis fan, you can buy tickets at the box office one hour before they go on sale anywhere else!

Want To Get Involved?

Ball person tryouts are held in early August for anyone interested in being on the courts to see tennis up-close and personal.  Be sure to fill out an online ball person application prior to showing up to Wake Forest University Indoor Tennis Center if you wish to be considered. Applicants must be at least 12 years of age, know how to keep score and be able to attend training sessions.

And there are many more opportunities to volunteer as well from ushers and tickets to transportation and guest services. You can learn more and signup by visiting the Volunteer page on the Winston-Salem Open website.

Andy Roddick at Winston-Salem Open

Past Year Players Include Andy Roddick & John Isner

In the opening year of the tournament (2011), we were not only graced with an incredible event but also some top name tennis names like Andy Roddick, John Isner, James Blake, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Kevin Anderson, and Donald Young, All 6 of these players were ATP ranked in the top 100. More recent tournaments showcased the playing of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Gael Monfils, Grigor Dimitrov, Tomas Berdych, Kei Nishikori, Pablo Carreno Busta, Sam Querrey, David Goffin, and Jurgen Melzer. This year looks like another stellar lineup and who knows who else may still sign up for the Winston-Salem Open before the tourney begins!

ATP Tennis Returns To Winston-Salem In August 2021

The tournament (formerly named Pilot Penn and held in New Haven, CT) takes place in August at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex adjacent to BB&T Field. It is one of the most watched tournaments in the U.S. Open Series because it is the last tournament before the one and only Grand Slam tennis event, the U.S. Open in New York City. It is also the same surface as the US Open, so it is the perfect place for the players to warm up for the big show in the Big Apple. Everyone keeps an eye out to see who to watch for in New York.

Which player are you most excited to see on the court and around town?

About The Author:

Born right here in Winston-Salem, NC, at Forsyth Memorial Hospital, Michelle is a native. At age one she moved to Virginia but after spending 30+ years moving around Virginia, Tennessee, Massachusetts, California and even Paris, France, Michelle returned home to Winston-Salem in 2004. A job at Hanes brought her here but the heart of the city has kept her here.

Her favorite things about Winston-Salem are its welcoming people who call it home, its art-centric culture, and its perfect location at the foot of the Blue Ridge mountains and a short drive to the beaches of the Atlantic. The lack of traffic is a pretty tremendous asset as well, especially since it gives her more free time to enjoy cooking and playing with her dogs, Lily and Barley. Michelle is one of the many residents of this great city who are thrilled to call this "My Winston-Salem"!

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