For the first time in over three decades, major tennis has returned to North Texas.
The ATP Dallas Open is underway all week at SMU’s Styslinger/Altec Tennis Complex, where tennis pros are gathering for a weeklong, indoor hard-court tournament.
The tournament is being headlined and hosted by Dallas resident and tennis star, John Isner.
“It doesn’t get any easier than this,” Isner told The Dallas Morning News. “I could walk there if I wanted.”
Tennis fans near and far are flocking to North Texas for the matches. In fact, the final six sessions of the tournament were all sold out before extra tickets were released earlier this month.
“I am extremely excited to see quality tennis. I know Dallas is in need of more pro tour events so I’m happy to be here with my family and my son – we’re big tennis fanatics," said spectator Anibal Santillan.
It’s such a big deal that one of the biggest stars in tennis was in town to watch it:
Naomi Osaka, four-time Grand Slam champion, made a surprise visit sitting courtside on day 1 of the tournament this week.
Although she was in Dallas for personal reasons, she told organizers she was watching tennis for fun – no doubt bringing extra attention to the event.
The latest news from around North Texas.
"This is the first year inaugural season here in Dallas. So we anticipate to grow this championship year over year,” said Monica Paul, executive director of the Dallas Sports Commission. “It's definitely something that we want to see continue here in Dallas, so that we know that we have professional tennis here every year.”
With The Dallas Open, the Association of Tennis Professionals has officially brought back professional tennis to North Texas for the first time since 1989. The ATP Tour is also responsible for other big-name events like Wimbledon, the French Open, and U.S. Open.
The Dallas Sports Commission said partnerships were key in bringing pro tennis back to the region again.
"This is an incredible opportunity for Dallas and SMU to once again have high-level professional tennis right here in our Metroplex," said Paul. "I really have to thank GF Sports & Entertainment for taking the lead, the initiative and reaching out to us about this great opportunity. Dallas residents thrive on tennis.”
With more than 20,000 fans expected this week and a projected economic impact of $8 million to the local economy, there's more excitement beyond the tennis court.
"It’s definitely a big boost for our hotels, our restaurants and shopping. Just a lot of excitement around this event,” said Paul.
There's also a significant philanthropic impact from the tournament. The Dallas Open has partnered with the John Isner Family Foundation, which provides financial support for families for meals, clothing, transportation, and medical supplies while their child is under the care of Children’s Health.
The Dallas Open is one of only 10 ATP Tour events on U.S. soil this year. Over 60 world-class players are hitting the courts this week, with matches being televised to more than 100 countries.
"The biggest thing is helping American tennis by providing wild cards to some of the SMU players. The first match ever at The Dallas Open was an SMU player, Liam Krall, playing. We had a packed stadium on qualifying so we just know that we’ve done it right here,” said Peter Lebedevs, tournament director of The ATP Dallas Open.
The tournament runs until Sunday, Feb. 13.
After this, the Dallas Sports Commission has its sights set on soccer. There has been a huge push to bring the World Cup to Dallas in 2026, which could further place the North Texas region as a leader for professional sports in the country.
"I always like to hope that we're at the top of that list and I definitely think the Dallas and North Texas region is the premier sports destination,” said Paul. "We want to make our community proud and provide opportunities back to the residents of our communities.”
Dallas is one of 17 cities now vying to be a host to the World Cup. FIFA will choose 10 U.S. cities in addition to three Canadian and three Mexican cities to host the FIFA World Cup 2026.
We’re told an update on the World Cup locations could happen in the next few months.
"We have a lot of things on our list. But by far that World Cup by for 2026 is the biggest opportunity in front of us and we're still in the midst of that having great conversations with FIFA,” said Paul.