Preview: San Diego Open
The tennis world is abuzz as Laver Cup 2021 launches Friday. And yet, another Star-Power event is coming to San Diego, California. The inaugural ATP Tour- 250 tournament kicks off qualifying, Saturday, September 25th. Qualifier winners join the Main Draw beginning, Monday, September 27th.
This first-ever event honors San Diego Tennis Hall of Fame member, Angel Lopez for his achievements on and off-court. In addition, San Diego Open has aptly named California-born, Original-9 member, WTA tennis legend, Billie Jean-King as the Honorary Tournament Chairperson.
The “Original-9” were recently honored at the US Open celebrating the 50th anniversary of their courage, determination, and their role in the inception of what is now the WTA Tour. My guess is Billie will make an appearance at some point. (Not confirmed but seems likely.)
Credit: Getty Images
So, how does an ATP-250 level event qualify for All-Star status?
Let’s “drop some names” and you decide. Our top seed is No. 5, Andrey Rublev. The Russian has several victories over Top-10 players including; Federer, Nadal, Medvedev, Tsitsipas, and Thiem. Andrey is joined by No. 10-Casper Ruud, No. 11-Felix Auger-Aliassime, No. 12-Denis Shapovalov, No. 13-Hubert Hurkacz, No. 15-Diego Schwartzman, No. 17-Christian Garin, No. 19-Reilly Opelka, No. 23-Dan Evans, No. 24-Lorenzo Sonego, No. 25-Aslan Karatsev, Fabio Fognini, Grigor Dimitrov, David Goffin, Taylor Fritz, Sebi Korda, Cam Norrie, Kei Nishikori, Brandon Nakashima and an “inspired” [WC] Andy Murray who is currently a quarterfinalist at the Moselle Open in Metz, France.
Familiar faces pepper the qualifying draw as well with; Frances Tiafoe, Lloyd Harris, Tommy Paul, Jordan Thompson, Sam Querrey, Kevin Anderson, Dennis Kudla, Steve Johnson, and Guido Pella.
San Diegan Zachary Svajda has scored a wildcard into the qualifying. The La Jolla-born 18-year old is right-handed with a two-handed backhand. Ranked No. 476, he recently turned pro in 2019. After winning the USTA Boys 18s National Championship, he earned a wildcard into the 2019 US Open main draw. Zach’s last name is pronounced SVAI-da.
Svajda has joined fellow American Donald Young (2005) in being the youngest men’s player in the major draw. Unlike many freshman players, he already has a grip on net skills. At the 2021 US Open, the American pushed 13th seed Jannik Sinner to 4-sets before falling, 63 76(2) 67(6) 64. Zachary is one to watch as the hometown crowd will surely help “raise” his level.
The 16-Team-Doubles Draw features best in show with No. 3-Joe Salisbury, No. 4-Rajeev Ram, No. 9-Bruno Soares, No. 10-Filip Polasek, No. 18-Marcelo Melo, No. 19-Michael Venus, No. 20-Jamie Murray, No.23-John Peers, No. 25 Maximo Gonzalez, Jack Sock, Jean-Julien Roger. Yes, largely a Top-25 doubles draw too. So yeah, star power on both sides of the draw.
So, how do we get here? First of all, San Diego is a travel destination so if you can, plan extra days here to experience our culture. Our airport is San Diego International, SAN.
Location: Barner Tennis Center, 4490 W. Point Loma Blvd., San Diego, CA 92 107
Tournament Schedule-September 25-October 3rd
Main Draw Play-September 27th-October 3rd
Day Session Start: 11:30 AM (PT)
Night Session Start: 5:30 PM (PT)
*Exceptions Saturday, October 2nd (Semis)-Day Session, 12 PM (PT), October 3rd (Final), Day Session, 2 PM (PT)
Very Important!! On-site parking is limited to VIPs. The event is providing complimentary Shuttle Service from the Historic former Naval Hub, Liberty Station. To catch the shuttle, Park in Lot-J (2469 Decatur Road). The event is also providing ride-share stations.
Have a little extra time? Stroll the Liberty Station grounds and visit our mini “Seattle like” Public Market for a bite or sample local eateries like Breakfast Republic, Chi Chocolat, Banyan Kitchen, Con Pane Rustic Breads & Cafe, Corvette Diner, and more. You can browse Art Galleries, historic exhibitions, shop locally, or even tee-off at the Par 3-Loma Club.
A San Diego Open grounds pass is great for bringing the family. There will be a lot to see with multiple matches and player practice sessions in the early days.
Lastly, this power-packed event is in a word, “SMALL.” The center court seats ~2000 fans with a projected daily attendance of ~1000 people. It will be nearly impossible to find a similar intimate setting to witness some of the best of the tour. Ticket prices range from $20 for a Grounds Pass up to ~$50 for stadium seating. For perspective, the October 7th Masters 1000 at Indian Wells (BNP) main stadium holds ~16,000 fans and hosts ~500,000 fans annually.
Take advantage of this opportunity which rose out of the cancellation of the Asian swing. Thank you, COVID? This lead-up event to the BNP Paribas Open is “too good” to miss.
Go to barnessdopen.com for details