AUSTIN, Texas – The DropShot Series has announced the return of professional tennis to Austin for the fifth annual men’s and women’s ITF World Tennis Tour events at the Texas Tennis Center in November.
The action will start with the men’s Greenview Development & Majestic Realty Men’s Pro Tennis Open November 6-12, followed by the H-E-B Women’s Pro Tennis Open November 13-19.
While both events offer prize money and valuable rankings points for the respective tennis tours, there is more on the line in the women’s event as the H-E-B Women’s Pro Tennis Open champion will receive a wild card into the main draw of the 2024 ATX Open, a Hologic WTA 250 tournament that will take place Feb. 24-March 3 at Austin’s Westwood Country Club.
“Providing opportunities for those who are looking to get a foothold in the pro game is so important in the development of players and to provide a pathway for new talent to reach the highest levels of the sport,” said Tournament Director Christo Van Rensburg. “Events like these in the DropShot Series are crucial to the continued growth of tennis. We have the opportunity to create a direct link to the top level of the pro game by offering the women’s champion an entry into the WTA Tour’s ATX Open next spring.”
The first recipient of an ATX Open wild card for winning the H-E-B Women’s Pro Tennis Open was former University of Texas standout Peyton Stearns. Just months after helping UT to back-to-back NCAA team titles while also winning the 2022 NCAA individual title, Stearns turned pro before returning to Austin where she claimed the third ITF title of her young career.
“ITF events, like the H-E-B Dropshot series event, had a huge impact on how I transitioned from my college career to my professional career,” Stearns said. “It’s a quick transition that you have to pick up on fast from booking travel, courts, accommodation while on top of that being a professional athlete and everything that comes with it.
“After winning the Dropshot event in Austin I was awarded a wildcard into the ATX Open which I’m so thankful for the opportunity. To be back playing in Austin at a WTA event was surreal since Austin has a special place in my heart, almost like a second home.”
Stearns made the most of her ATX Open wild card. Not only did she record her first WTA Tour match win at that event, she also reached the quarterfinals of a Tour-level event for the first time.
“The support I received that week gave me so much motivation and emotions knowing so many people were behind me,” Stearns commented. “Not only that, I gained a lot of confidence winning my first WTA match as well as reaching my first WTA quarterfinals! I cannot wait to be back in Austin soon!”
In April, Stearns reached her first WTA final at the tournament in Bogota, and at last month’s US Open she reached the Round of 16. Ranked No. 326 at the time of the H-E-B Women’s Pro Tennis Open last November, she is currently ranked No. 48 on the WTA Tour.
Stearns defeated Clervie Ngounoue in the 2022 H-E-B Women’s Open final. Ngounoue, 17, is the No. 2 ranked junior in the world this year after winning the Wimbledon girls title and the USTA 18s.
The 2022 Greenview Development & Majestic Realty Men’s Pro Tennis Open was won by Micah Braswell, an All-American at the University of Texas who is playing his senior season with the Longhorns.
In 2022, players representing 39 different countries participated in the DropShot Series tournaments.
Admission to the DropShot Series tournaments is complimentary, but fans do need to register in advance for free tickets on www.dropshotseries.com/.
The WTA Tour’s ATX Open will return to Austin’s Westwood Country Club Feb. 24-March 3. Former US Open champion Sloane Stephens is the first player to commit to play the 2024 tournament. Tickets go on sale Oct. 16. More information is available at www.atxopen.com.