AUSTIN (KXAN) — Coming off the end of tennis icon Serena Williams’ farewell tour, an Austin company is preparing for ticket sales to launch next week for Austin’s inaugural professional women’s tennis tournament.

DropShot Tournament Series is hosting ATX Open here in Austin in February 2023. Tickets go on sale this Tuesday, September 6.

Christo Van Rensburg, a retired professional tennis player and now tennis coach, is grateful for the energy the Williams sisters brought to the sport and is now excited to keep the energy going as the tournament’s director.

“My last pro match was with Venus Williams at Wimbledon,” Van Rensburg noted. “This is one of the three biggest tournaments in America where the women pro-athletes from all over the world will come and compete here.”

Van Rensburg moved to Austin in 1991 and played professionally from 1983 until 1997. Since then, he’s continued coaching the sport and hopes this new tournament inspires the next generation.

“Our reward will be one day if someone said, ‘I went to that ATX Open, and that made me want to be like them,’ and then actually go and achieve what their goals are. So that together, we are women-empowering and fighting for equal prize money in the women’s world. That’s what our mission stands for,” Van Rensburg said.

He said building a supportive community is key to success.

“You can’t achieve this unless you have a really good family, and you have a really good team behind you. You know, we get all the accolades when you do well. And so, Serena was totally correct last night when she started off her thank you to her parents and then to her sister and that sums it up. You cannot do this without the people close to you,” Van Rensburg said.

He’s hoping for a big crowd since it’s the closest tournament for fans in Texas.

“There’s about 22 million registered people in America playing tennis. And 10% of them, 2 million, are in Texas. So that’s actually amazing because there is no woman’s tournament the caliber of ours the closest is Charleston and Cleveland,” he explained.

So far, Danielle Collins has committed to the tournament. She plays in the third round of the U.S. Open on Saturday night.

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