80K Event Brings Grand Slam Champions and Former Champions to Macon

MACON, Georgia, (October 10, 2017) The 2017 W.L. Amos Sr. Tennis Classic entry list has been released and as the event keeps growing, the field of players keeps getting deeper and stronger. Play will take to the courts of Mercer University’s Leroy Peddy Tennis Center, come the morning of October 22.

“Every year, I’m blown away by the list of players that want to come to Macon and play in our event,” commented tournament director, Eric Hayes, also the Head Men’s and Women’s Tennis Coach at Mercer University. “This is a testament to the support that Mercer University and the entire Macon tennis community provides in hosting these players.”

For the first time in the history of the tournament, a former Grand Slam singles champion has entered in Francesca Schiavone of Italy. Schiavone, who has been ranked as high as No. 4 in the world, won the 2010 French Open singles title by defeating Sam Stosur in the finals. Schiavone has won eight WTA singles titles and is currently ranked No. 81 in the WTA rankings.

Now in its fifth year, the W.L. Amos Sr. Tennis Classic, has moved up to a USTA Pro Circuit 80K event, with a 32 player singles draw and 16 doubles teams to Macon, along with a 32 player qualifying draw the first weekend. It’s eight days of world class tennis and now the second biggest professional tournament in the state of Georgia in terms of prize money (ATP World Tour 250 event – BB&T Atlanta Open in July is largest) and the longest running professional women’s tennis tournament in the state of Georgia.

“All you have to do is watch Wimbledon and the U.S. Open to get a preview of the players that come to Macon,” added Hayes. “I’ve been running these USTA Pro Circuit tournaments for 15 years, and I’ve had players like Sloane Stephens (Current U.S. Open Champ) play my events, but this one is going to be special.”

When it comes to major titles, 2014 Macon singles champ, Kateryna Bondarenko, of Ukraine returns, and she is bringing her sister, Alona, who she teamed with to win the 2008 Australian Open Doubles title. Kateryna also just won the WTA singles title in Tashkent. The Bondarenko Sisters will reunite to play doubles in Macon.

Players come to Macon to play for $80,000 in prize money, valuable WTA ranking points and a spot in the first major of 2018, the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Also on the entry list, WTA No. 54, Tatjana Maria of Germany and American, Sachia Vickery, who is coming off a USTA Pro Circuit title in Templeton.

Young American players make up nearly half of the entry list, led by Sofia Kenin and Kristie Ahn. Kenin just reached the third round of the U.S. Open before falling in a close contest to Maria Sharapova. Ahn has been steadily climbing the rankings with success on the USTA Pro Circuit and WTA events. Americans joining these two include: former Georgia Tech star, Irina Falconi, Atlanta resident, Taylor Townsend and Julia Boserup.

Defending champ, Kayla Day, and former champs Rebecca Peterson of Sweden and Anna Tatishvili are also entered. Former singles runner up, Ajla Tomljanovic has also signed up for the main draw.

Past players include many current top-100 players including: Madison Brengle, Shelby Rodgers, Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, Nicole Gibbs and Jennifer Brady.

22 former Macon participants were in the main draw at the U.S. Open in New York, last month.

Highlights of the week include the Pro Am and Player/Sponsor party, and an annual event with free lessons, food and more. Also the players will make visits to local schools to promote tennis as a lifetime sport and the professional event. Play will begin each morning and continue until the slate of matches in singles and doubles is finished for the day.

Volunteers are needed and any help is always appreciated. Call Mercer tennis coach and tournament director Eric Hayes at (478) 301-2269.

About the Leroy Peddy Tennis Center

The LeRoy Peddy Tennis Center is the home for Mercer University men’s and women’s tennis. The facility is located just inside the South campus entrance, nestled among its pine tree lined western perimeter and adjacent to MU’s softball stadium and practice fields. The Center features a total of eight courts, aligned in a picturesque bi-level configuration (four courts each on the upper and lower tiers). The lighted venue also has ample parking and seating for fans on either level and a park-like walkway for access between the two sections.

About the USTA Pro Circuit

With approximately 90 tournaments hosted annually throughout the country and prize money ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, the USTA Pro Circuit is the pathway to the US Open and tour-level competition for aspiring tennis players and a frequent battleground for established professionals. The USTA launched its Pro Circuit in 1979 to provide players with the opportunity to gain professional ranking points, and it has since grown to become the largest developmental tennis circuit in the world, offering nearly $3 million in prize money. Last year, more than 1,000 men and women from more than 70 countries competed in cities nationwide. Victoria Azarenka, Eugenie Bouchard, John Isner, Madison Keys, Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori, Sam Querrey and Caroline Wozniacki are among today’s top stars who began their careers on the USTA Pro Circuit.

The W.L. Amos Sr. Foundation

The W.L. Amos Sr. Foundation is the title sponsor of the tournament.

Middle Georgia Tennis Foundation

The mission of the Middle Georgia Tennis Foundation is to raise funds to support tennis programs, especially youth programs in Middle Georgia.

For more information:
On-site PR contact: Rick Limpert (209) 920-7425 or email:
Twitter: @USTAMacon80K
Instagram: wl_amos_tennis

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