In early March 2020, the defending Volvo Car Open (VCO) champion Madison Keys met with Charleston media to help kick off the 20th anniversary of the event’s move to Daniel Island.
Only days later, the tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has continued to impact the country for the past year.
But now Keys is back as the tournament returns April 3-11.
The VCO, the premier women’s-only professional tennis tournament in North America, will be held without fans.
Keys will defend her 2019 title against World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty and some of the top players in the world. Keys defeated Caroline Wozniacki in the 2019 final to capture her fourth career WTA title and her first on clay.
The VCO’s 56-player draw is made up of 43 direct entries into the tournament, five wild cards and eight qualifiers. Kim Clijsters has already accepted a wild card for the event. Four additional players will join the main draw via wild card entry, to be announced at a later date.
“The world of live sporting events has had to make many difficult decisions over the past year,” said Bob Moran, tournament director. “We wish we could host a stadium full of fans in 2021 to appreciate the world-class talent represented in our player field, from
WTA’s top-ranked Ashleigh Barty and our defending champion Madison Keys, to next generation tennis stars like Sofia Kenin and Coco Gauff. We are grateful that our broadcast partner Tennis Channel will air first ball to last ball main draw matches, providing our
fans with more than 70 hours of live tennis and an opportunity to watch the powerful and entertaining competition on our courts this year. We look forward to getting back to normal in 2022 with a newly renovated stadium and celebrating 50 years of professional
Highlights from the main draw include:
• 21 countries represented in the international player field, including 10 Americans
• Three past VCO champions: Madison Keys (2019), Kiki Bertens (2018) and Sloane Stephens (2016);
• Six Grand Slam champions: Sofia Kenin (2020 Australian Open), Ashleigh Barty (2019 French Open), Garbiñe Muguruza (2016 French Open, 2017 Wimbledon), Sloane Stephens (2017 US Open), Jelena Ostapenko (2017 French Open) and Kim Clijsters (2005,
‘09 & ‘10 US Open and ‘11 Australian Open);
• Three former world No. 1 ranked players: Ashleigh Barty (current), Garbiñe Muguruza and Kim Clijsters.
• Charleston native Shelby Rogers to compete in hometown tournament again.
The tournament has partnered with the WTA and the Medical University of South Carolina to develop its health and safety protocols for the event, which will allow the team to create a safe atmosphere for players, essential staff and operational partners.
The Tennis Channel and WTA Media will broadcast the 2021 VCO, providing a full week of coverage for fans both in the U.S. and abroad.
For more information about the tournament, visit volvocaropen.com.
— Compiled by DI News staff