Winston-Salem Open announces 2021 playing field
Published 9:23 am Thursday, July 29, 2021
Field Includes Lorenzo Sonego, Marin Cilic, Nick Kyrgios, Frances Tiafoe, and Kevin Anderson
WINSTON-SALEM — The Winston-Salem Open has announced the playing field for the 2021 tournament, which will be held Aug. 21-28 at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex adjacent to Truist Field. Highlighting the field of players at the Winston-Salem Open are ATP stars Lorenzo Sonego, Marin Cilic, Nick Kyrgios, Frances Tiafoe and 2015 Winston-Salem Open Champion Kevin Anderson.
“Our playing field is shaping up to be a really exciting one,” says Tournament Director Jeff Ryan. “The courts here are surfaced like those at the U.S. Open, and that provides these guys a great way to get ready. When you add the ease of getting around Winston-Salem, the intimate atmosphere and the world-class event supported by a vibrant community, this tournament remains a great finale to the summer hard court series.”
The singles draw consists of 48 players, and Italian 26-year-old Lorenzo Songeo currently leads that field. Sonego is a star on the rise, recently achieving a career-high No. 26 in the ATP Tour singles rankings. The 26-year-old, from Turin Italy, swept titles this year at Cagliari making him the first Italian singles champion on home soil since 2006. Fans will enjoy watching the well-rounded Italian who has personality to spare with plans to release a reggaeton song this summer with Italian lyrics. “We are excited to host Lorenzo,” says Ryan. “The Italians are a dominant force in tennis today, and he is certainly one to watch.”
The 2014 U.S. Open Champion and former World No. 3 Marin Cilic is a first-time addition to the Winston-Salem Open field. The 32-year-old Croatian is currently ranked No. 37 in the world and just captured his 19th singles title in Stuttgart, Germany. Cilic has more than 500 career wins at the ATP level and won the Davis Cup for Croatia in 2018. The six-foot-six-inch power server has a heart of gold and won the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award in 2016 for his foundation work that aims to provide children with improved access to education. “Marin brings an incredible level of talent to this tournament. He continues to be force on the Tour, and we think fans are in for a treat seeing this Grand Slam champion in action right here in Winston-Salem,” adds Ryan.
A fan-favorite, 23-year-old Frances Tiafoe recently enjoyed the biggest win of his career last month in the opening round of Wimbledon where he upset World No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas. At 20, Tiafoe became the youngest Grand Slam quarterfinalist at the 2019 Australian Open, and he just completed a run as a first-time Olympian in Tokyo, Japan. Tiafoe, currently ranked No. 54, is an ambassador for the United States Tennis Association’s National Junior Tennis and Learning foundation — a non-profit focused on on-court and off-court activity for children at low or no-cost. “We look forward to cheering him on in Winston-Salem. This is a guy who has become really popular with his game and his personality. He is helping to put Americans back at the top of tennis,” Ryan said.
With a current ATP singles ranking of 58, Australian Nick Kyrgios, 26, is a former World No. 1 junior who broke into top 50 at age 19 in 2015 and ended 2016 at a career-high No. 13. “Kyrgios is arguably one of the most entertaining players on tour,” according to Ryan. He is one of only two players (the other his countryman, Lleyton Hewitt) to win his first match against Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, and Novak Djokovic. Off the court, the Australian is well-known for his love of basketball and video games. “Nick puts flavor in tennis. He has amazing skill, is full of passion and really enjoys engaging with the fans. You can tell he leaves it all on the court each time he plays,” adds Ryan.
South African Kevin Anderson, 35, won the Winston-Salem Open in 2015 and currently has a singles ranking of No. 75. Earlier this month Anderson won his seventh career title in Newport, Rhode Island. He achieved a career-high No. 5 ranking in 2018 and became the top South African in FedEx ATP rankings history (since 1973). The returning champion holds the record for the second-longest match in history, eventually defeating American John Isner (2011 and 2012 Winston-Salem Open Champion) at Wimbledon 26-24 in the fifth set. Anderson is dedicated to preserving oceans as he works to reduce plastic use on tour. He is also famous for traveling with his rescue dog, Kady. Ryan says, “It’s hard to overstate what a nice guy Kevin is. Ever since he first started playing Winston-Salem, he has been a crowd favorite, and we are excited to welcome him back.”
“In addition to our field leaders, there are numerous players coming to the Winston-Salem Open who will be fun to watch,” Ryan added. “After the past year, all the players are eager to get court time and will compete at their highest levels of play. The entire 2021 field couldn’t be more exciting, and I can’t wait until professional tennis returns to Winston-Salem in less than four weeks.”
The field of competitors announced constitutes 38 of the slots in the tournament’s 48-player singles draw. The remaining 10 spots in the field will be determined in August. Of those 10 spots, four of them will come via wild card entries. There will be an additional field of 16 doubles teams named closer to the tournament.
For more information on the Winston-Salem Open, including ticket sales and special packages, go to WinstonSalemOpen.com.