One of the more notable local event casualties early on in the COVID-19 pandemic was the 2020 Volvo Car Open - the annual WTA Tour event hosted on Daniel Island.
On March 2, local media joined with women’s tennis legend Tracy Austin and 2019 Volvo Car Open champion Madison Keys to help kick off the 20th anniversary season of the tournament.
The tournament is a “very special stop” on the women’s tour, Austin, the tournament ambassador, said at the time, noting the importance as the tour’s first clay court of the season. But it’s the warm welcome and Southern hospitality that holds a special place in the players’ hearts, she added, and why they want to return year after year.
Just a few days later, concerns over the coronavirus threat started to cast doubt on the future of public events. By March 12, the 2020 tennis tournament was iced and within a week businesses and events around the Lowcountry were forced to shut down.
But now, nearly nine months later, as sporting events have adapted to the “new normal” of COVID-19 precautions, plans for the Volvo Car Open’s return to the WTA Tour on April 2 -11, 2021, are in place.
“When we made the decision to cancel the 2020 Volvo Car Open earlier this year, our team was devastated, but not discouraged. We were determined to find a safe way to bring professional tennis back to Charleston. We have spent the last several months planning for 2021 and beyond, and we are thrilled that the Volvo Car Open will return in April,” said Bob Moran, Volvo Car Open tournament director, in a statement. “We are ready to safely and responsibly host another world-class event in Charleston and celebrate the spirit of the game that has kept us inspired and moving forward during this year of challenges.”
Tickets for this premier women’s-only professional tennis tournament, which brings 90,000 plus attendees to the island each year, went on sale to the general public Nov. 13. Patrons may choose between single session tickets and ticket packages.
The highly anticipated tournament typically features the best in women’s professional tennis, bringing more than 100 of the world’s top players to the Lowcountry.
Charleston Tennis LLC, which manages the Volvo Car Stadium under a lease from the City of Charleston, recently announced plans to renovate and modernize the 20-year-old Volvo Car Stadium. With the city-owned facility undergoing renovations through the fall of 2021, the tournament will construct a temporary stadium on its secondary court, Althea Gibson Club Court, for the upcoming event. The temporary stadium will provide seating for up to 3,000 fans per session and allow the Volvo Car Open to implement new health and safety procedures by limiting the number of fans onsite at one time.
“Over the summer we hosted a made-for-TV tennis tournament, in partnership with Tennis Channel, which gave us really valuable insight on hosting a safe event,” said Moran. “After producing that tournament, we are confident that
we can conduct a Volvo Car Open that is both safe and entertaining.”
Tickets are available online at volvocaropen.com or by calling the Volvo Car Open Box Office, 843-856-7900.