WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Julien Benneteau and Marcel Granollers have signed to compete in the second annual Winston-Salem Open at Wake Forest University. No. 6 ranked Tsonga is the highest ranked player signed to the Winston-Salem open either this year or last.
Bill Oakes, tournament director of the Winston-Salem Open, is at Wimbledon this week and recruited all three players while there.
"These three players join a strong field of contenders who will be competing in Winston-Salem in less than two months," Oakes said. "We're particularly thrilled to have Tsonga in the tournament. He has been near the top of the ATP rankings for a while and is hugely popular with fans because of his showmanship and his aggressive, really powerful game."
Tsonga, 26, is currently ranked No. 6 in the South African Airways ATP rankings and has been as high as No. 5 as recent as last week. He rapidly emerged onto the tennis scene by reaching the Australian Open finals in 2008, beating Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal along the way before losing to Novak Djokovic in the finals.
He competed in Winston-Salem, also in 2008, for the Davis Cup tie between the U.S. and France but was forced to pull out because of an injury. Tsonga has had eight career ATP World Tour singles titles and has already won once this year at Doha. He reached the Wimbledon semifinals last year, beating Roger Federer in the quarterfinals.
Benneteau, 30, is currently ranked No. 32 after being as high as No. 26 in April. He has won six doubles titles and also reached the singles final at Sydney this year. Benneteau is one of the great stories of the 2011 Winston-Salem Open.
He played in nine matches in eight days last year while qualifying before losing to John Isner in the finals. His 3-6, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (6) win over Robin Haase in the semifinals is cited by many observers as the most-exciting match of the 2011 tournament. As a result of his performance in the Winston-Salem Open, Benneteau jumped from No. 113 to No. 81 last August and has continued climbing the rankings since.
Granollers, 26, is currently ranked No. 23 after reaching a career-high No. 22 earlier this year. He holds three ATP World Tour singles titles, including two last year at Valencia and Gstaad, and will play doubles with Rafael Nadal in the 2012 Olympics in London. Granollers also is an excellent doubles player who has won seven doubles titles and been runner-up nine other times. Many tennis observes praise Granollers for his solid career and note that he probably has been overshadowed by Nadal, David Ferrer and other top Spanish players.
The Winston-Salem Open will be held August 18-25, 2012, at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex adjacent to BB&T Field. Tickets to the tournament are available online at www.winstonsalemopen.com, by calling (336) 758-6409 or in person at the Wake Forest ticket office located at Bridger Field House at BB&T Field.