The John Isner Open, otherwise known as the BB&T Atlanta Open, kicks off Monday when the three-time Atlanta champion will defend his title at a tournament that often seems tailor-made for his raising the annual trophy.
The No. 16-ranked Isner, who skipped the Olympics citing the lack of ATP points and his desire to defend in Atlanta, is joined as the top seed by fellow seeds Nick Kyrgios, Kevin Anderson, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco, Guillermo “G-Lo” Garcia-Lopez, and fellow Americans Donald Young and Taylor Fritz.
Isner after a bye will open against the winner of Adrian Mannarino and a qualifier.
Among the interesting opening-round matches are (8) Fritz against fellow American and wildcard Austin Smith, (7) Young vs. Rajeev “Rampras” Ram, and (2) Kyrgios after a bye starting against the winner of American wildcard Jared Donaldson and giant-serving Aussie Sam Groth.
The third wildcard went to American Reilly Opelka, who will start against a qualifier, with the winner then facing (3) Anderson.
Isner is 3-2 in Atlanta finals over the last six years.
“I always enjoy playing in Atlanta and having the support of a lot of Bulldog fans,” said the former University of Georgia player, who has won the last three titles. “The crowds are great and I look forward to coming back to defend my title again this summer.”
Last year Isner beat Marcos Baghdatis 6-3, 6-3 in the championship match.
Some of the higher-profile withdrawals from the event were Borna Coric, Benoit Paire and Lucas “Everyone Out of the” Pouille.
Since the event moved to Atlanta from Indianapolis in 2010, only Americans have raised the trophy: Isner (2015-13), Andy Roddick (2012), and Mardy Fish (2011-10).
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