WINSTON-SALEM (AUGUST 11, 2014) – Greensboro's John Isner has never lost a match at the Winston-Salem Open, and he'll be looking to continue that streak when the fourth annual ATP World Tour 250 event gets under way on Saturday, August 16 at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex.
Isner won the inaugural 2011 tournament and then repeated in 2012, and is back in the 48-player field again this year after missing last year's tournament with a strained hip flexor injury.
He is currently ranked No. 14 in the latest ATP World Tour rankings, after being ranked as high as No. 9 earlier this year. He has already won two tournaments this year, at hard court events in Auckland and Atlanta, and now owns nine career titles.
Isner admits that he likes the benefits that come from being the tournament's favorite son.
"It's very exciting," he said. "For me, coming home, I've always played well here. I've played it twice and I haven't lost, so there's something about being at home. It helps me so much. Having the crowd on my side really cheering me on, it's a home court advantage for sure. That's one of the reasons I've done so well in this tournament, and I'm looking forward it. I can't wait to get back."
The tournament will start on Saturday with two qualifying rounds, and then the Main Draw will start on Sunday.
Isner admits that when he was growing up he couldn't have envisioned an ATP World Tour 250 event coming to the Triad. But the tournament has thrived as one of the jewels in the Emirates Airline US Open Series, the lead-in to the US Open later this month.
The tournament will be televised throughout the week by ESPN2 and the Tennis Channel, and then the final on Saturday, Aug. 23 will be televised by CBS.
"I never thought a big-time tournament like this could come here, but I'm not surprised by its success," he said. "I know that the Triad supports tennis so well and so many people play tennis. This is a great sports town and a great tennis town. It's a great week during the year, the weather's great, the atmosphere's great, the facilities are state of the art. Everyone who has played the tournament loves the tournament, and I think that's one reason why the fields are so tough.
"And on top of all that, it's a very important tuneup for the US Open. It's your last chance to get some matches before the really big one in New York. So I love this tournament. But everyone else does as well. I can't find anyone who has a bad thing to say about this tournament."
Also in the field are defending champion Jurgen Melzer, plus former World No. 5 Tommy Robredo and American favorites Sam Querrey, Steve Johnson, Bradley Klahn and Donald Young.
Melzer, a former World No. 8, defeated Gael Monfils for the title last year after beating Querrey in the semifinals.
The veteran Austrian lefthander has played in the Winston-Salem Open all four years.
"I have always liked coming to Winston-Salem," Melzer said. "I feel comfortable there. I think it's just a neat tournament. It has the size where you feel comfortable. You feel welcomed. You feel at home. It's a neat city and they do all the things to take care of you, like the player's lounge, the practice courts. I like to play tournaments like that."
Others in the field include 2013 Wimbledon semifinalist Jerzy Janowicz, recent Washington runner-up Vasek Pospisil, WSO regulars Jarkko Nieminen, Robin Haase, Andreas Seppi and Marcel Granollers, and Nicolas Mahut, Isner's opponent in the record-breaking 11-hour, 5-minute marathon at Wimbledon in 2010.
About the Winston-Salem Open
The Winston-Salem Open, an ATP World Tour 250 event with a total purse of $625,000, will take place from August 16-23, 2014, with qualifying set for August 16. The tournament will be the final men's event of the Emirates Airline US Open Series and is the week prior to the US Open. For more information on the 2014 Winston-Salem Open, please go to WinstonSalemOpen.com.