In April, James Blake, one of the top 10 players in the world at the time, won the second annual Sarasota Open — a title Kei Nishikori, one of the top 25 players in the world, won the previous year. It’s the marquee sporting event on Longboat Key, drawing top players in the world on both the ATP and WTA tours.
The bleachers at the Tennis Gardens at the Longboat Key Club and Resort held 33,000 people for the 2011 tournament. This year’s Sarasota Open takes place from April 14 to April 22 and is expected to top last year’s attendance. And attendance isn’t the only increase.
Last year’s prize purse size of $75,000 has increased to $100,000. Also this year, the Sarasota Open is presenting a Ladies Invitational Tournament at the same time as the Men’s Invitational Tournament and has already confirmed player Alexandra Stevenson, a WTA professional.
Confirmed Men’s Invitational Tournament Players are Tommy Haas, with 13 titles, and Sam Querrey, with a world ranking of No. 85 in singles.
The tournament kicks off with a Sarasota Open Wild Card Tournament April 6 to April 8, the winner of which will get to play in the Open. And don’t miss your chance to mingle with the stars of the court at the Sarasota Open Players Party, which takes place April 16 at the Tennis Gardens at the Longboat Key Club and Resort.
IF YOU GO
• Sarasota Open Wild Card Tournament
The winner of this tournament wins a wild card entry into the Sarasota Open.
When: Friday, April 6 to Sunday, April 8
Where: Sarasota Bath and Racquet Club, 2170 Robinhood St.
Cost: $100 entry fee; free for spectators
Info: Download an entry form from www.SarasotaOpen.org or call 809-8996. Entry deadline is April 1.
• Sarasota Open Players Party
When: Monday, April 16
Where: Tennis Gardens at the Longboat Key Club and Resort, 3100 Harbourside Drive
Info: Purchase tickets online at www.SarasotaOpen.org
• Third annual Sarasota Open
When: Saturday, April 14 to Sunday, April 22
Where: Tennis Gardens at the Longboat Key Club, 3100 Harbourside Drive
Cost: $5 to $20 for individual days; $20 to $80 for event pass; $100 to $500 for all event pass
Info: Visit www.SarasotaOpen.org or call 809-8996. Tickets can also be purchased at the Sarasota Open box office location at the Tennis Gardens at the Longboat Key Club.