US Open Series Approach Shots: Winston-Salem Open Tournament Director Bill Oakes

Tennis Panorama News will be covering all of the US Open Series tournaments this summer. The final entry in our series of short Q & A’s with the Tournament Directors of some of the US Open Series tournaments is with Bill Oakes, the Tournament Director of the inaugural Winston-Salem Open.


Oakes recently served as the tournament director for the Atlanta Tennis Championships and as Director of Professional Tennis, Sales and Marketing for the USTA Southern Section.

TPN: What was the process of Winston-Salem obtaining a tournament?

BO: It was a long process, a group of people in WS have been working to bring an ATP event to WS for over 10 years.  With the tremendous success of the Davis Cup ties the last few years it put the USTA on the lookout for any events that may change hands.  When an event became available, WS was the first choice.


TPN: Did hosting Davis Cup twice fuel the desire for the city trying to lure a tournament to Winston-Salem?

BO: It certainly did.  The success of the Davis Cup tie showed that the community can support a tournament, and they just needed to find the right event.


TPN: How are you involving the community in the tournament?

BO: In many ways, with the recreational tennis community we are working with the staff at USTA NC to provide opportunities for juniors to experience the event, whether they are new to the game or the top juniors in the state.  Between our Kids Day on Monday that will provide an opportunity for new players to try it out, and the top juniors will come to a weekend camp to hopefully hone their skills and see what it takes at the top levels to succeed.  We are also working on a few other projects that hopefully we will have more information on in July.


TPN: You’ve been involved in many aspects of the tennis world through the years, what do you think will make the Winston-Salem Open successful?

BO: I started on February 10, and the progress in just 4 short months has been nothing short of phenomenal.  The tennis community, business community and WFU have stepped up very quickly to provide a great base for the tournament.  This support is a thorough and solid as I have ever seen, and I know that with this support we have a great starting block.  I think that 2011 is just the start, we will have a wonderful event, but we will continue to improve for 2012 and beyond.  Many of our sponsors are committed for 5 years and I think that really shows how committed they are.

Tennis Panorama News will be onsite covering the Winston-Salem Open this week. Follow our updates on the website and on our twitter account @GVTennisNews.