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BB&T Atlanta Open Media Day gives a preview of what's to come

Nathan Rakitt and Becker O'Shaughnessey pose with tournament director Eddie Gonzalez
Nathan Rakitt and Becker O'Shaughnessey pose with tournament director Eddie GonzalezRickLimpert.info

When BB&T Atlanta Open tournament director Eddie Gonzalez took the microphone behind Strip restaurant at Atlantic Station in Midtown Atlanta on the morning of Monday June 9, he had that wide-eyed look that he was ready to receive a John Isner serve.

John Isner returns to defend his title at the 2014 BB&T Atlanta Open
John Isner returns to defend his title at the 2014 BB&T Atlanta OpenRickLimpert.info

While Isner, the 6'10" defending champ of the BB&T Atlanta Open was nowhere in sight, Gonzalez faced the tennis and sports media of Atlanta head on, and explained the two-part slogan for this year's event.

"World class field, world class fun," proclaimed Gonzalez.

He appears to be right on with both statements.

It could be the best player field in the history of this ATP World Tour 250 event that kicks of the Emirates Airline U.S. Open Series for 2014. Atlanta and the BB&T Atlanta Open hold a special spot on the calendar it's the first tournament on the road to the U.S. Open and the men want to get on the board in the points race where Emirates Airline pays out bonuses based on performance after the U.S. Open.

Fan favorite Isner returns and first-time participants Richard Gasquet and Gael Monfils of France will surely garner a great deal of attention. 2014 runner up Kevin Anderson has entered, as has former world No. 1, Lleyton Hewitt. Americans Donald Young, Sam Querrey and Steve Johnson will also be seen on the hardcourts when they are set up at Atlantic Station.

Sure that is a great field of players, but you might ask where the fun enters the picture?

The answer would be right as you enter the grounds of Atlantic Station.

New food partners in Strip, Rosa Mexicano, Atlantic Grill and Chick-a-Biddy will keep the patrons well fed this year.

Each and every day features a different theme this year, and it just isn't on paper, it's being backed up in a big way.

From Kid's Weekend to Military Night and the always popular Ladies' Day, the whole family will be able to not only enjoy the tennis, but also the fan friendly events happening all over the grounds.

If you are a fan of 80's soft rock, Yacht Rock Revue will be taking over Stadium Court for a post-match concert on Wednesday night, July 23.

Also, some wildcards were announced on Monday.

University of Georgia player Austin Smith will make his ATP World Tour main draw debut as he was granted a main draw wildcard.

Qualifying wildcards will go to the No. 1 junior in the USA, Frances Tiafoe; also two other area college players in Nathan Rakitt of Georgia Tech and Becker O'Shaughnessey of the University of Alabama.

Individual tickets for all sessions are now on sale at www.BBTAtlantaOpen.com. Reserve the best seats now.

Per the BB&T Atlanta Open, here are some fast facts;

-Tournament level: ATP World Tour 250 Event

-Dates: Main Draw: July 21-27, 2013; Qualifying: July 19-20, 2014

-Site: Atlantic Station, 1380 Atlantic Dr. NW Atlanta, Georgia 30363

-Singles main draw: 28-player draw with four players from qualifying

-Doubles main draw: 16-team draw

-Qualifying draw: 32-player singles draw

-Prize Money: $568,805

-Stadium Court seating capacity: 3,978

-2014 total seating capacity including Grandstand Court & Court 3: 4,940

-2013 Total attendance: 31,847