The Volvo Car Open is the current name for the Charleston Open, named after the Swedish vehicle manufacturer who sponsors the event. The competition, which is played on green clay, has been held annually since the inaugural event back in 1973. Despite its 46 year history, the event has not always been held in Charleston. For most of its history, the competition was hosted on Hilton Head Island, also in South Carolina. For two years in the mid-1970s, the competition moved to Amelia Island, Florida, before returning to Hilton Head Island. The tournament has been held at the Family Circle Tennis Center in Charleston since 2001.
The prize money totals over $820,000. Between 1990 and 2008, the competition was classified as a WTA Tier I event and has been categorised as a Premier Tournament since the classification system was revised in 2009. It is one of only five tournaments (outside of Premier Mandatory and Premier 5 competitions) to have been run every year since this reclassification.
The Volvo Car Open is one of many WTA competitions that is popular with fans who enjoy placing wagers on games. Most bookmakers will accept a range of different types of bets on tennis games, including those that can be made before a match begins and proposition bets while the match is in play, such as which player will win the first set.
Notable winners of the Volvo Car Open include Venus Williams, Serena Williams, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova.
The 2019 Volvo Car Open took place between the 1st and 7th of April. The prize money of $823,000 was distributed according to each player's final position in the tournament, with the single’s winner taking home $141,420 and those that when out in Q1 receiving just $710. The highest-ranked player in the tournament was American legend Sloane Stephens, with the number two and three seeds being Kiki Bertens (ranked 8th) and Arnya Sabalenka (ranked 9th).
The competition was won by the number 8 seed, 24-year-old American, Madison Keys who was pictured texting her mother and boyfriend while waiting for the trophy presentation to begin. In addition to the substantial prize money, Keys was presented with a new Volvo car and the key to the city of Charleston. Madison joked as she received the key, asking the Mayor what the key to the city allows her to do.
Madison beat Carolina Wozniacki in the final, who had won the event in 2011 and had been the tournament’s number 5 seed.
The 2020 tournament will again take place in early April with Volvo Car continuing to sponsor the event. It is expected to welcome 90,000 tennis fans to watch the 100 female tennis stars over the 8 days of the event.
Aside from the action on the court, the Volvo Car Open will host a variety of other activities, including prize draws and competitions organised at sponsor booths, unique Charlestone cuisine will be on offer at the many onsite dining concessions, and the opportunity for some retail therapy in the Merchandise Tent. For fans that want to try their tennis skills, a fast serve machine will also be available to see if they can return a pro-like serve.
At the time of writing, the official website still says tickets will go on sale in mid-September, which has already passed. So these should likely go on sale imminently so don't delay your purchase. A number of different packages will be available, including single-day tickets, private boxes, hospitality packages and travel packages for those that are looking to attend the event from elsewhere.
The Volvo Car Open is a long-standing, prestigious WTA tournament that offers a unique green clay playing surface. It has been won by many of the greatest female tennis legends, which adds to the prestige of the event. The 2019 tournament was entertaining and delivered an unexpected result, and 2020 promises to be just as exciting.