Originally written on Tennis Panorama  |  Last updated 11/18/14

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 09: Mardy Fish of USA plays a backhand during the men's second round match against Michael Llodra of France during Day 2 of the the AEGON Championship at Queens Club on June 9, 2009 in London, England. (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images)

By Audraine Jackson

ATLANTA, Georgia – The first men’s event of the 2012 Emirates Airline US Open Series begins July 14-22 with the BB&T Atlanta Open. Mardy Fish will return to defend his title after winning the 2011 Emirates Airline US Open Series winning twice in Atlanta playing competitive matches with local favorite John Isner who is also scheduled to play. They both will be joined by former world No. 1 ranked Andy Roddick.

 

Fish said he would like to try to pull off a third victory in Atlanta, “This is my favorite time of the year so obviously this is an exciting time. I’m really looking forward to it,” said Fish.

 

“Obviously I love the weather, the heat. Playing in that type of heat is not just about being fit as well. It’s about convincing yourself you like it more than the other guy, pushing your body further than you think it will go…I love it. I grew up in it. I grew up in that weather and I played my best tennis in that type of heat. There’s going to be a lot of great players there as there has been in the past two years…I’ve had two very very close matches in the finals both to Isner and I am sure he will be looking to win one of those titles as well.”

 

Roddick acknowledges the tournament kicks off with a good field that includes Fish and Isner. “I think they’ve been in the last two finals. I’m one of the guys who is trying to make sure it’s not three in a row for those guys….I enjoy playing tennis anytime I step on the court. Motivation hasn’t been a problem of mine. As for the heat, I spent the majority of my life in Florida and Texas. I’m used to it. As far as heat goes, when I’m on court, I only have to be more comfortable than one person. I try to look at it that way.”

 

All four Men’s US Olympic team members are scheduled to play including hometown favorite Donald Young. Kei Nishikori, a Japanese native, makes his first appearance in Atlanta this year. He became the highest ranked male Japanese player in history last October. Unseeded Russian Alex Bogomolov Jr. and Matthew Ebden of Australia edged out the unseeded German team of Matthias Bachinger and Frank Moser 3-6, 7-5, [10-8] in a third-set match tiebreak to earn the 2011 Atlanta tournament doubles crown. Last year, Fish and Serena Williams swept the Emirates Airline US Open Series men’s and women’s titles, the first time two Americans won the Series Bonus Challenge in the same year.

 

Qualifying for this ATP World Tour 250 event runs July 14-15 with the main draw scheduled July 16-22 with prize money totaling $531,000.  Full seating capacity is 4,508 for the Atlanta venue in this eight tournament series leading up to the US Open. Players will compete during the entire series for $40 million in prize money.

#

Audraine Jackson is covering the BB&T Atlanta Open for Tennis Panorama News July 14-22, 2012. Audraine is a sports blogger, digital journalist and tennis addict. Follow her live updates on @tennisnewsTPN and personal twitter account @atlstoryteller.

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