With the city skyline as a backdrop and downtown traffic as a constant noisemaker, the BB&T Atlanta Open welcomed the first set of players to competition Saturday, at Atlantic Station.
It is the third year the professional tennis event has taken place in the Atlanta region, but the first time it has been situated downtown.
"I don't know if I've ever been on the court and looked up and saw the city skyline," said player Tim Smyczek, who played in the tournament when it was held north of downtown in a more rural setting.
"When I heard they were going to do this in this area, I thought this is going to be interesting, being right in the middle of the city," Smyczek said.
"Part of what makes this unique is that it's an outdoor event in the middle of the city," said tournament director Bob Bryant. "Typically the only real estate available for tennis is going to be in an arena somewhere downtown."
He said ticket sales are up 30 percent over previous years, when the event drew as many as 40,000 over one week.
Top-seeded players John Isner, Mardy Fish, Andy Roddick and others will arrive to begin their matches after the qualifying rounds wrap up Sunday afternoon.
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