Delray Beach Open Returns For 10 Days Of Slams, Stars, New Technology

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Staff report

Top tennis professionals from all over the world will head to Delray Beach this month for the 2018 Delray Beach Open ATP World Tour event.

Catch your favorite singles or doubles match during the 10-day event from Feb. 16-25 at the downtown Delray Beach Tennis Center.

See world No. 13 Sam Querrey, world No. 9 and defending champion Jack Sock, world No. 11 and 2011 Delray Beach champion Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina, former world No. 4 Milos Raonic of Canada and 2017 US Open finalist Kevin Anderson  hit the courts.

Making their Delray debuts are 2014 Wimbledon quarterfinalist Nick Kyrgios of Australia and Top 50 Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov, two of the top young stars on the ATP World Tour.

“These youngsters are two of the most exciting players on Tour,” tournament director Mark Baron said. “Nick Kyrgios and Denis Shapovalov are going to be household names in tennis for years to come.”

Kyrgios, 22, followed his 2014 Wimbledon run with a breakout season in 2016, winning three ATP titles with six wins over Top 10 players and a career-best No. 13 ranking. He has continued to be among the world’s best in 2017, with three more wins over Top 10 players, a first Master Series 1000 final in Cincinnati and semifinal finishes at the Indian Wells and Miami 1000 series events.

“I am super excited to make my debut in Delray Beach,” Kyrgios said. “It is a place I know well and have very fond memories of as I’ve spent a lot of time in the local area over the past few years. I feel very comfortable in Delray and I look forward to stepping out in front of the great crowds and putting on a good show for the fans.”

The Israeli-born Shapovalov, chosen by his peers as the ATP’s “Most Improved Player of 2017,” was one of eight players to qualify for the ATP’s inaugural “Next Gen” Finals that features the world’s best under-21 players. The 18-year-old became the youngest player in the Top 100 in August.

Shapovalov upset del Potro and then-world No. 2 Rafael Nadal in front of home crowds on his way to the Montreal semifinal and then beat world No. 12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to reach the fourth round at Flushing Meadows. Now he’s moved into the Top 50, and the ATP also chose him as its 2017 “Star of Tomorrow.”

To kick off the event, International Tennis Hall of Famer as well as 17-time Grand Slam champion John McEnroe will return to Delray Beach for his fourth appearance in the tournament’s ATP Champions Tour event Feb. 16-18.

The Presidents’ Day weekend USA vs. International ATP Champions Tour matches kick off the 10-day Delray Beach Open that also includes an ATP World Tour tournament—it’s the only tennis event in the world combining an ATP World Tour and ATP Champions Tour tournament at the same event.

McEnroe will captain the USA team that also includes former ATP World Tour Delray Beach singles champions Mardy Fish (2009) and Jan-Michael Gambill (2001 & 2003).

“I look forward to returning to Delray Beach for another ATP Champions Tour event,” McEnroe said. “It will be five years since my last tournament in Delray Beach but nothing has changed. I am working hard to bring my best tennis to the fans and show the younger guys I can still beat up on them and help my USA teammates win the competition.”

Former Australian Open finalist and world No. 7 Fernando Gonzalez will captain the International team. The Chilean will be joined by former US Open finalist and world No. 4 Greg Rusedski of Great Britain and Canada, and Boca Raton resident Jesse Levine of Canada.

The “Delray Beach Cup” goes to the winning team in the competition that includes seven singles matches as well as a doubles match.

During all matches, “Hawk-Eye Live,” a new innovative electronic line-calling technology will call the shots. Delray will be the second event in the world to use the new technology. It debuted in Milan during the Next Gen ATP Finals.

With “Hawk-Eve Live” calling the shots, the Chair Umpire will be the only official on court during the event. When triggered, the new system will make an instant automated “OUT” call. Because each call will be final, the “Challenge” system in use with current “Hawk-Eye” systems will not be used. However, close calls will be replayed on stadium video boards to benefit the fan experience.

Foot faults on serves will be determined by a review official who will be monitoring cameras placed on the base and center court lines.

Tickets can be purchased online https://yellowtennisball.com/schedule/, at the Delray Beach Open Box Office, 30 NW 1st Ave. or  by phone 561-330-6000.