The Volvo Car Open is the largest women’s tennis tournament in North America and for 16 years has served up much more than just a lineup of top-ranking athletes in its state-of-the art home on Daniel Island. Known until 2015 as the Family Circle Cup, the Volvo Car Open is much more than a tennis tournament; it is an experience – nine days of world-class tennis combined with shopping, dining, family events, charity events, theme nights and more. It is the quintessential “place to be.”
“It’s not just about tennis; it’s about entertainment and having a good time,” said Bob Moran, tournament director for the Volvo Car Open. “It’s for kids, families and tennis fans alike to have a great time with us. That’s what Charleston is all about – a place to see and be seen. It’s a special experience for everyone, and people have a good time here, day or night.”
A wide variety of ticket packages are available to offer spectators flexible options to experience the tournament, which is scheduled to run from April 1 through April 9.
“There is an early-week package, weekend packages, champions packages, evening packages. We’ve tried to create as many different packages as possible so our guests can get the most out of this great experience,” Moran explained. “There’s something for everyone.”
Anticipating more than 90,000 spectators for the tournament, opening weekend starts with an ace: Family Weekend features $10 tickets and is free for children 15 and younger. Jump castles, magicians, face painting, dancing and live music are just some of the highlights as families take in the qualifying matches taking place on courts surrounding the stadium.
Opening weekend at Volvo Car Stadium will feature the PowerShares Series one-night men’s event with tennis greats Andy Roddick, John McEnroe, Jim Courier and Mark Philippoussis playing two semifinals and a championship match on April 1. It’s the same day as the Cooper River Bridge Run, so anyone with a race bib receives a discount for the event.
The rest of the tournament is filled with daily themes and events ranging from MUSC Night, geared toward emphasizing a healthy lifestyle and raising money for cancer research, to Military Night, when members of the military receive free access to the tournament. In the Interactive Zone, tennis games and a fast-serve cage are available for those wanting to hone their skills, and the Merchandise Tent and Match Point Market offer great retail for both tennis must-haves and Charleston souvenirs. Happy hour is hosted from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily, with drink specials and music.
“We’re also very excited to get the chance to impact local high school athletes. Tennis has grown exponentially in the tricounty area since the tournament has been in Charleston. There is a college pathway with tennis, and we feel it’s our responsibility to talk about it,” Moran said. “This year, we are inviting local girls’ high school teams to join a seminar with a couple of players – one who is currently in college and aspiring to be on the tour, one current tour player who graduated from college and also the head of the USTA Collegiate Association, to talk to these young athletes about college, playing tennis and what it’s like to go to college to play tennis.”
While the Volvo Car Open is indeed a great experience for anyone, there are several events planned that are sure to be a topspin hit for true tennis fans: a Bubbles and Doubles ladies’ luncheon where guests and several tournament doubles players can enjoy a meal featuring sparkling wines from Chandon, or a luncheon joined by tournament players and announcers from the Tennis Channel.
“The Volvo Car Open has made a major move to the Tennis Channel,” said Moran. “They’ll be covering the tournament live for seven days, from the first ball served in the first round to the last ball played in the finals. While we only received 14 hours of coverage last year, the Tennis Channel will be covering more than 100 hours live and will be broadcast in 174 different countries.”
The Volvo Car Open will host about 120 high-ranking athletes representing more than 40 countries. They range from two 2016 Olympic gold medalists to returning past tournament champions Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki and defending champion Sloane Stephens, and WTA top 10 ranked players Madison Keys and Johanna Konta.
“These athletes have choices on where they can go. I think the biggest difference between the Volvo Car Open and the others is Charleston’s charm and hospitality,” said Moran. “We make them feel comfortable and welcome when they get off the plane, and there’s a sense of relaxation here. Most of the players have already made restaurant and tour reservations, and they’re coming to enjoy the Charleston experience. It’s not hard to get them to come here because the Charlestonians and tennis players of Charleston are so warm and welcoming. The great experience of the tournament goes both ways for players and fans alike.”
For more information on ticket packages, schedules and events, visit volvocaropen.com or call ticket manager Jennifer Ferrell at 800-677-2293. WTA Top 10 ranked player Johanna Konta will play the Volvo Car Open this year.
By Anne Toole