By Herman Wood
(July 20, 2013) ATLANTA, GA – The BB&T Open got underway today in Atlanta, even though Mother Nature had some say, as the afternoon was interrupted by rain. As of this writing, the first round of qualifying was still underway. Four players will advance to the main draw. From the University of Georgia, Nathan Pasha was unable to get by Mitchell Frank, of the University of Virginia, despite winning the first set. Frank advanced, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4. Georgia Tech graduate Kevin King advanced over Jimmy Wang 7-6(4), 1-0, retired. Robby Ginepri and Donald Young, both locally connected players, also advanced to the second round of qualifying.
The tournament experienced a significant loss in the withdrawal of the Bryan Brothers from doubles. Atlanta is a serious doubles town as it is the home of the Atlanta Lawn Tennis Association, a league built primarily on doubles play as part of a team. Bob cited a recurrence of a left shoulder injury. “We regretfully have decided not to play in Atlanta next week. We feel badly as we have lots of friends and fans in the Atlanta area and would have loved to have seen everyone. We need to take some time off to allow our bodies to recuperate.” Though the need for rest is understandable and the brothers were far from alone in taking time off or even withdrawing from a commitment, perhaps the posting of a video horsing around with Dirk Nowitzki on a basketball court might not have been. The video can be seen at: http://www.whosay.com/bryanbros/videos/381145?wsref=tw
Bryan Bros on WhoSay
In their statement, they did indicate that they hope to return next year. Tournament director Bob Bryant said “The Bryans are both dedicated professionals and I know this decision was not taken lightly.”
A planned doubles exhibition that was to feature the Bryans is still on at 7 PM Monday night with a “Brodown”. Ryan and Christian Harrison, James and Thomas Blake, and Jack and Eric Sock will play ten point match tiebreaks in an exhibition. Georgia Tech “brothers” Juan Spir and Kevin King will fill in the fourth spot and have received a wild card into doubles. They were roommates for three years and have the most doubles wins in the school’s history. Wimbledon finalists Ivan Dodig and Marcelo Melo will get the top seed in doubles and will play the Harrisons in the first round.
A final wild card was also announced today for singles, going to a former University of Tennessee star, Rhyne Williams. He was a finalist at the 2011 NCAA division I tournament. His top professional result was a semifinal appearance at this year’s Houston event.