The 2017 Hall of Fame Open is part of a big tennis party. When this tournament is held every year, the Saturday of the tournament – the semifinal round – is preceded by inductions of new members into the Hall of Fame’s exclusive club. This year, Kim Clijsters and Andy Roddick will lead the 2017 Hall of Fame class. Roddick’s name has come up a few times this week as an American made his way to the semifinals at Wimbledon. Sam Querrey made a run all the way into the final four, defeating top-seeded Andy Murray before ceding to Marin Cilic in the semis. Roddick was the last American to win a tennis major, so the hope was that Querrey could somehow pull a surprise and end the drought.
At any rate, this event rounds out the grass season before the move to hardcourts. The competition in the 28-player main draw begins on Monday, July 17.
Event: Hall of Fame Open
Category: ATP 250 Series
Date: July 17-23, 2017
Location: International Tennis Hall of Fame – Newport, Rhode Island, USA
With a prize money allotment of just over $535,000 this is a tournament with a slightly below average purse for an ATP 250 event. The other two ATP 250 events taking place this week get just over $552,000 when exchanged with Euros. That’s a big reason why you won’t see too many big names participating. There’s also the issue with Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray dealing with injuries. Beyond that, this event comes right after Wimbledon and a lot of the bigger names prefer to take a quite break rather than pursue another tournament. Especially since it’s a tournament with a much smaller prize.
Nevertheless, this is a fun event for players who get to experience the emotion and excitement of a Hall of Fame induction ceremony, albeit as spectators and not as honorees.
Champion – 250
Runner-up – 150
Semifinal – 90
Quarterfinal – 45
Former Champions and Results
Year Champion Runner-up Score
2016: Ivo Karlovic def. Gilles Muller 6-7(2-7), 7-6(7-5), 7-6(14-12)
2015: Rajeev Ram def. Ivo Karlovic 7-6(7-5), 5-7, 7-6(7-2)
2014: Lleyton Hewitt def. Ivo Karlovic 6-3, 6-7(4-7), 7-6(7-3)
2013: Nicolas Mahut def. Lleyton Hewitt 5-7, 7-5, 6-3
2012: John Isner def. Lleyton Hewitt 7-6(7-1), 6-4
John Isner can’t quite figure out grass. The big John has a huge serve and is more than a decent volleyer but he doesn’t make most of his abilities on this surface because of bending down to hit slices – that gives him problems with his height. In the Wimbledon second round, he went down to 90th-ranked Dudi Sela. Isner blasted a whopping 45 aces but it wasn’t enough. He just couldn’t make inroads on Sela’s service games in the fifth set. The American went 0-6 on break points in the final set and it cost him dearly in the end.
Isner’s next assignment is in Newport, where he often plays well. He has enjoyed a lot of success in Newport winning the tourney two times in 2011 and 2012. Despite having tasted success on grass in Newport, he has never made past the third round at Wimbledon. Isner is coming off an early exit in England but that shouldn’t hinder him from performing to his standards in his home tourney. In fact, with other Newport entrants playing a long Wimbledon, as you’ll soon read, this might make Isner fresh and give him an advantage.
Gilles Muller is one such player. He is 34 years of age but he is having a career-defining season. Muller is a fantastic 27-12 in 2017 and it should only get better in Newport, if he is not worn out. The man from Luxembourg has been so impressive that at times, he has looked unbeatable on grass. Muller won his second ATP title in Hertogenbosch, reached the semifinals in Queens, and carried his excellent run of form to Wimbledon, where he shocked the world by beating Rafael Nadal in five epic sets in the fourth round. Muller not only justified his top-16 seeding but went one better by advancing to the quarterfinals at SW19.
The two times he has lost on grass in 2017, he has gone down fighting and on both occasions the opponent was Marin Cilic. In Newport, Muller will not have to face Cilic. However, he might be too tired to rev up the engines in the United States. It is a tough turnaround for him.
Sam Querrey came to Wimbledon with an 18-13 record, but wasn’t expected to match his impressive quarterfinal result last year. Instead, he chose to dream big and go even further this year. Believe it or not but big Sam made the semifinals of a Grand Slam for the first time. Querrey became one of the big success stories of Wimbledon.
The confidence he’ll carry to Newport will be sky-high. At 29, he is not getting any younger but he is only getting better at what he is doing. There are at least four contenders for the title and Querrey is undoubtedly one of them. Yet, he has even more reason than Muller to be exhausted – he played 19 sets in his last four Wimbledon matches. He might be spent. On the season, Querrey has a 22-13 record, so it’s not as if he’s having a banner year. He was just 10-5 on hard courts, 5-4 on clay and 7-3 on grass. His run at Wimbledon was impressive but it’s hard to bank on him continuing any type of momentum because he simply hasn’t been a reliable player to bet on all year long.
It’s hard to believe but like Muller and Querrey, even Adrian Mannarino progressed to the second week of Wimbledon. Mannarino recorded his first top-20 win since March 2015 by upsetting his compatriot Gael Monfils in an exciting five-setter in the third round. He has had a successful Wimbledon but he has never won an ATP title. With the form he is in, he should feel it’s his best opportunity to get his hands on the ATP trophy for the first time, especially since Muller and Querrey will be gassed.
International Tennis Hall of Fame
The tennis facility has several grass courts laid out together, and shaded seating for most of the spectators. The Hall of Fame itself is a shrine to the history of tennis. The Hall was established by Jimmy Van Alen in 1954. Van Alen is also famous in tennis circles for inventing the tiebreaker in 1970. It was put into use at several tournaments, and the U.S. Open still uses it to decide final sets of matches.
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