a real hit
5 reasons why every fan should catch Houston's most regal tennis tournament at River Oaks Country Club
The 110th U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship — known here as the Fayez Sarofim & Co US Men's Clay Court Championship — wrapped up Sunday, April 10 with the biggest final in tennis history — certainly the tallest.
Six-foot-11 Reilly Opelka won his fourth ATP title by toppling the equally towering, 6-foot-10 John Isner 6-3 and 7-6 in the skyscraper shootout at River Oaks Country Club.
By the numbers, that's 167 inches of pure firepower. There were more aces dealt than the World Series of Poker, with both players blasting unreturnable serves at a record clip. It was a remarkable turnaround for Opelka who failed to win a single match in his three previous appearances at the event.
Here are five reasons not to miss the 111th edition of the Clay Court Championship, the only top-tier clay court tennis event held in the U.S. from April 1-9, 2023.
Center court at River Oaks Country Club is practically a cathedral of tennis.
The ROCC is an intimate, step-back-in-time stadium that reminds fans in the know of Wimbledon. Along with the tennis, the event features a top-tier fashion show and luncheon each year attended by Houston's A-list crowd.
You'll get to see the best American men's players up close and personal.
In addition to Opelka and Isner, Taylor Fritz, Sam Querrey, Mackenzie McDonald, Tommy Paul, Jenson Brooksby, Frances Tiafoe, and Jack Sock played in this year's event.
International stars rate the Clay Courts as one of their favorite tournaments, too.
Nick Kyrgios (Australia), Jordan Thompson (Australia), Feliciano Lopez (Spain), and Pablo Cuevas (Uruguay) say they return each year because of the Houston hospitality and amazing restaurants.
Unlike other tournaments, the Clay Court tickets are reasonably priced.
So reasonably priced, in fact, you can watch the qualifying rounds for free. Tickets generally are in the $35 to $70 range — or approximately what it would cost you for a hot dog and beer at the upcoming U.S. Open. And here's something unusual, parking is free on public streets in the River Oaks neighborhood.
Free tennis lesson.
Clay court tennis has long rallies, so you can get a lesson just by watching the players move the ball from side to side. Except when guys like Opelka and Isner blast 135-mph serves. Don't try that at home.