Podcast - Peter Lebedevs

Having more tennis events in America is an on-going battle. The global aspect of the sport is endearing and inspiring, but for the large contingent of American standouts and hopefuls, there's nothing quite like having a tournament in your native land. In 2025 the ATP is re-organizing their calendar, and one of those weeks is receiving a major uprade. The Dallas Open, which is currently being played at the campus of Southern Methodist University, will be elevated from the 250 level to that of the 500s, increasing the prestige and worth of a tournament that is quickly becoming a tour favorite.

The man at the helm, tournament director Peter Lebedevs, joined the Podcast to discuss how the event caught on so quickly in the heartland, and what the new iteration will look like in 2025 and beyond. The impact on American tennis, the assist from the NFL's Dallas Cowboys, and the game's former serve King John Isner are all discussed on this episode.


The Dallas Open becomes just the second 500 level event in America after Washington D.C.'s Citi Open, and Lebedevs notes the importance of that domestically The travel requirements on the players is brutal, and US based players having the opportunity to play for real ranking at home will only increase their chances to succeed and remain fresh.

"For us to have another 500 in the U.S., it inspires the players," the tournament director stated. "They don't have to travel all the time, they're in their backyard. You know, more fan support, all of those little things that make a difference. And that's what we're trying to do and help with the US players."

As part of the ATP's re-organization, 17 cities were evaluated for an upgrade. Just three were selected, with Dallas being the only one in America. A large reason for that was their partnership with the National Football League's Dallas Cowboys, a premier franchise in all of professional sports. The new event will be played in the city of Frisco, at a mega-athletic complex known as "The Star." The 91 acre state-of-the-arc complex is the headquarters of the Cowboys franchise, and home to tons of athletic and enterainment events. It will add tennis to the mix in 2025, and will feature first-class facilities for the players and fans.

"They (the Cowboys) created the Ford Center at the The Star there for sports, and tennis was one that they had not had, and they wanted to have it there," Lebedevs stated. "It has been a good partnership we're starting off, and everybody is excited about it. I can't say anything but great things about the Jones family about we've done and put together here."

Lebedevs is excited for the final iteration of the Dallas Open as a 250 as well, with the Southern Methodist University campus a terrific host site for an event with no bad vantage points. The farthest seats are 32 feet away from the court, and the backwall is so close that Lebedevs and Murray astutely point out how aware you have to be in that area when Ben Shelton is pummeling serves. Check out the the podcast for tremendous insight on how the event will become a tremendous torch-bearer for American tennis, and how the recently retired John Isner played a pivotal role in ensuring that each player receives the care and ammenities they desire. Growing the game in this country is a crucial task, and Texas is the perfect place for the ATP to begin to do that.