10sBalls.com • TennisBalls.com

Following Last Year’s Scaled-down Schedule, a Busy 2021 U.S. Open Series Begins in Newport

By Ricky Dimon

Last year’s summer swing–and really the entire season–was severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. On the ATP Tour, the U.S. Open Series consisted only of the Cincinnati Masters (played in the New York bubble) and the U.S. Open. The WTA Tour also scrambled to hold a hard-court event in Lexington plus clay-court tournaments in Palermo and Prague. Other than that, the buildup to the U.S. Open was wiped out.

This year, however, we are blessed with a full U.S. Open Series schedule. In fact, it is the busiest U.S. Open series since 2013. Across both the ATP and WTA, nine tournaments in North America will be played in the span of six weeks leading up to the Flushing Meadows festivities.

It has begun this week on the grass courts of Newport and will continue with stops in Atlanta (ATP), Washington (ATP), San Jose (WTA), Toronto (ATP), Montreal (WTA), Cincinnati (joint), Winston-Salem (ATP), and Cleveland (WTA).

“It’s incredibly exciting and positive to see the US Open Series returning with such strength after an immensely difficult year,” said Megan Rose, USTA managing director of major events for the USTA. “Engaging fans and local communities with world-class tennis events is integral to the USTA’s mission of promoting and growing the game, so the collective hard work and determination of everyone at each tournament and both tours to bring a full summer season of professional tennis back to North America is invaluable.”

It is back with a bang, too. Obviously the Masters 100 events in Canada and Cincinnati will have fully loaded fields, but the 500-point tournament in Washington, D.C. is also poised to put on a great show. Rafael Nadal has accepted a wild card to make his debut appearance in the district.

“We are thrilled to welcome Rafael Nadal, who is not just one of the greatest tennis players of all-time, but also a global sporting icon and inspiring role model to our Washington community this summer,” said Citi Open chairman Mark Ein. “I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate the joyous return of the things we cherish like live sports, coming together as a community and our historic event than having Rafa and the rest of our very deep and exciting player field competing for the Citi Open title.”
Nadal will be joined in D.C. by the likes of Denis Shapovalov, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Hubert Hurkacz, Karen Khachanov, Alex de Minaur, Jannik Sinner, John Isner, and Sebastian Korda.

Sinner, Isner, and Korda will also be playing a week earlier in Atlanta, which boasts a strong field especially considering that it is competing with the Olympics that same week. Nick Kyrgios and Grigor Dimitrov are also playing in Atlanta instead of Tokyo.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.