photos by JARED WICKERHAM
“Come for the tennis. Stay for the experience.” It was the central message of the 2023 Winston-Salem Open, and over eight days, 30,000 fans RSVP’d “yes” to that invitation.
The final event on the men’s professional tennis calendar before the U.S. Open means the sport’s global eyes are focused on Winston-Salem.
This year’s winners included the all-American doubles team of Nathaniel Lammons and Jackson Withrow who secured their third title and did not drop a set en route to lifting the trophy. The singles champion, Argentinian Sebastian Baez, won his second tournament in a row this summer as part of a 12-match win streak.
Rising stars like American teen Alex Michelsen and Grand Slam champions, including Dominic Thiem, also beat the pavement while battling the heat during the tournament, and many players know the conditions in the heart of the Piedmont Triad are perfect practice for New York.
“The facility is a real asset to the area because many of the world’s best players know they can experience court surfaces and even lighting like they’ll have at the U.S. Open, only they don’t have to fight traffic and can enjoy our hospitality,” says Jeff Ryan, tournament director. “We received so many comments from the players about how warm and friendly everyone is in Winston-Salem.”
Hospitality and special events are key to the Winston-Salem Open’s success with players and fans. A record number of more than 400 youth participated in the Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Brenner Children’s Hospital Kids’ Day, while the USTA North Carolina hosted middle school and high school play days – all free events to expose more children to tennis.
Big Brothers Big Sisters, Earlier.org, Abilities Tennis Association and Wheel Serve NC and Aceing Autism also enjoyed clinics or special events as part of the Winston-Salem Open’s commitment to diverse fan groups and the community.
“Being community-centric is something we are really focused on now and even more so in the future,” says Winston-Salem Professional Tennis Board Member Tiffany Noel. “We hope people will make the Winston-Salem Open part of their summer routine, whether it’s with friends, co-workers or the whole family.”
Flow Automotive and Truist will present the 2024 Winston-Salem Open August 18-24th.
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