Dallas Open Set to Serve SMU Swan Song

By Sam Weiger / Contributor

Over the last two years, the Styslinger-Altec Tennis Complex has hosted world-class tennis. The award-winning facility on the SMU campus is poised to do so for the final time this week.

The Dallas Open, which begins Saturday and runs through the championship matches on Feb. 11, is the first ATP Tour event in the United States this year. Dallas is hosting the tournament for the third consecutive year, with more than 60 professional players participating in singles and doubles events.

“It’s been incredibly successful at SMU,” said John Isner, a Park Cities resident and former champion who retired in 2023 but remains as a Dallas Open ambassador. “It’s been sold out every night, with an amazing atmosphere for the players and the fans. We’ve proven that the market and the model in Dallas works.”

Featuring three of the top four American male tennis players in the world, the tournament is headlined by top seeds Frances Tiafoe, Tommy Paul, and Ben Shelton.

Tiafoe, the only competitor who has previously held a top-10 world ranking, enters the tournament as the top seed. He gained recognition for advancing to the semifinals of the 2022 U.S. Open, where he defeated 22-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal.

Paul, seeded second in Dallas, has emerged victorious in his two most recent encounters with Tiafoe. In 2023, Paul reached the pinnacle of his career with a world ranking of 12 and achieved his first-ever semifinal appearance in a Grand Slam.

Third-seeded Ben Shelton, a rising sensation who made his breakthrough at last year’s U.S. Open, brings his world-renowned athleticism to the stage.

Besides the American contingent, other renowned players in the field include France’s Adrian Mannarino and Australia’s Max Purcell.

The Dallas Open also awards a wildcard invitation to a local college player, opening the door for SMU’s Adam Neff to join the main draw.

The festivities will include a women’s exhibition match on Saturday featuring former Grand Slam champion Caroline Wozniacki from Denmark. Plus, Tiafoe will hold a youth clinic on Tuesday as the first outreach underwritten by his new foundation.

The tournament will relocate after this year to The Star in Frisco, when the 2025 event will see a boost in prize money and ATP stature.

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