GEORGIA’s AUSTIN SMITH GIVEN MAIN DRAW WILD CARD
1982 Heisman winner Herschel Walker will make an appearance and flip the coin for the Tuesday, July 22 College Night matches of the 2014 BB&T Atlanta Open. Fans also will get the opportunity to meet and greet Walker during Tuesday’s festivities.
The tournament is the first men’s event in the Emirates Airline US Open Series and will be played July 19-27 at Atlantic Station.
Regarded as one of college football’s best players ever, Walker anchored UGA’s 1982 national championship team. He is the only NCAA player who played only three years to finish in the top ten in career rushing yards.
Walker spent his first three years of professional football with the USFL, enabling the fledging league to gain a foothold in pro sports. Afterward, he played 13 seasons in the NFL, with the Cowboys, Vikings, Eagles and Giants. The fifth-degree black belt has competed in numerous activities far from the gridiron including a brief career as a mixed-martial artist and former U.S. Olympics bobsledder along with a stint as a Fort Worth ballet dancer.
“The BB&T Atlanta Open is extremely pleased to have one of Georgia’s most beloved athletes join the festivities,” Tournament Director and Chief Development Officer Eddie Gonzalez said. “Herschel will be one of the highlights of College Night, which will also include UGA star Austin Smith in a first-round match.”
“It’s such an honor to not only appear at the BB&T Atlanta Open, but to be there when a Georgia Bulldog is going out on Stadium Court. UGA’s John Isner is the defending champion and I’m so pleased to also show my support for him” Walker said.
Former Bulldog John Isner, who has committed to play the event, is the most successful player at the tournament with a championship last year and two final appearances. He was a four-time All-American at UGA, 2007 NCAA doubles champion and a member of its 2007 national championship team.
University of Georgia tennis player Austin Smith has accepted a wild card into the main draw. The sophomore, from Cumming, Ga., excelled this season as the Bulldogs captured the 2014 SEC Championship. Smith finished with a 35-12 record, and went 9-1 in SEC matches. He has won four USTA Pro Circuit matches. A tournament qualifier in 2011, Smith will be playing his debut ATP main draw match.