By Sam Crenshaw

The 2016 BB&T Atlanta Open promises to bring it’s most talented field to Atlantic Station , plus a chance for Atlanta tennis fans to witness a bit of American tennis history. This week tournament organizers unveiled plans for the 2016 tournament, that will include a tribute to the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and feature Australian Nick Kyrgios , one of the ATP tour’s most exciting young players.

BB&T Tournament Executive Director Eddie Gonzalez beamed with pride as he made the announcement.”This year we have 10 of the top 50 players in the world”, said Gonzalez. Kyrgios is currently ranked 18 in the world and rocketed up the rankings after reaching the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in 2014. At 21 years old, Kyrgios has earned a reputation for being one of the most talented athletes on the pro tennis tour. He also, at times, has the on-court temper of a John McEnroe, making Nick a rare character on today’s pro tennis tour. “ He has an edge to him, he wears his heart on his sleeve,” said Gonzalez.

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This year’s tournament comes at a different time on the calendar than usual. Atlanta is normally the first North American hardcourt event after Wimbledon. This year tournaments in Washington, DC and Toronto will be played before Atlanta.It has allowed the BB&T to attract more top 50 players who will be in North America and not going to Rio for the Olympics. “This is an Olympic year,” says Gonzalez. “We are the week leading up to Rio and it has worked to our advantage ” This year’s tournament will honor the 1996 Atlanta Olympics on Sunday, July 31st, when legends Andre Agassi and Sergi Bruguera will play a rematch of the gold medal match from 1996.

Fan Favorite John Isner will return to defend his title, In fact, Isner is the three-time defending champion of the BB&T Atlanta Open and is on the verge of making more tennis history. The UGA Alum won the longest professional match ever played, at Wimbledon in 2010. If Isner wins the BB&T he would become the first American man to win the same tournament in 4 consecutive years since Pete Sampras’ Wimbledon streak from 1997-2000.

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Along with Ladies Night,a Post-Match Concert, and Post-Match Fireworks there will be College Night. Tuesday, August 2 will be the night Georgia star Austin Smith will get to face off with one of the tour professionals. Smith who just finished his senior season with the Bulldogs can’t wait. ” The cut off is number 74, that’s the lowest ranked player that I could face, ” says Smith. “I’m looking forward to it. I just want to enjoy it and I hope the crowd has a good time.”

Georgia Tech and Georgia State will be represented on the BB&T Main draw as well. Tech’s Christopher Eubanks and State’s Zach Kennedy have been granted a spot in the tournament’s doubles field. Eubanks and Kennedy were high school teams at Westlake High School. Last year Eubanks was paired with Atlanta ATP tour pro Donald Young and made it to the semifinals before falling to the top-seeded team of Mike and Bob Bryan.

There are 4 new tennis courts on the Atlantic Station property this year. One of these courts is usually used as a third court for tournament play. The new courts are located within the parking deck near the Twelve Hotel, which is where the players live during the tournament.

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The dates for the 2016 BB&T Atlanta Open are July 30- August 7 at Atlantic Station. It all get’s started with Kids Weekend on Saturday, July 30 and Sunday, July 31 and Sports Radio 92.9 The Game will be on hand for all of the fun and the qualifying rounds.