Asheville could be location for first round of 2018 women's Fed Cup

FILE - Serena Williams, during the 2016 U.S. Open Tennis Champions, Photo Date: Sep 5, 2016 (Photo credit: ZUMA Press)

From big name tennis stars like Serena Williams, to this year's winner of the women's U.S. Open, Sloane Stephens, tennis fans will be thrilled to learn that Asheville is a leading contender to host the first round of the 2018 women's Fed Cup, put on by the International Tennis Federation.

The tennis weekend would be held February 10 and 11 and hosted at the US Cellular Center, according to Chris Corl, the center's manager.

"They contacted us to see if we had the dates and interest," said Corl, who immediately began working with the Demp Bradford, the director of the Buncombe County Sports Commission, to submit a bid.

If the contract goes through, Corl said the weekend will draw thousands to watch the top female tennis stars play.

"If we get the bid, we'd be the only city in the United States to host the event for the first round," he said.

The USA team is a finalist and playing this weekend in the Fed Cup in Belarus.

The Fed Cup is like the women's version of the Ryder Cup. The Cellular Center has capacity for 5,000 and Corl anticipates it would be a sold out weekend.

"It's really a transformative event for a venue and a place, and it's a great community event. The goal of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) is to expand the sport of tennis," Corl said.

The USTA is the governing body over professional tennis in the U.S. No contract has been signed but those involved at hopeful a contract will go through.

Corl said up-and-coming players often participate as well as name players who know they have to play in a Fed Cup event to be able to play in the Olympics.

The event would mean business for Asheville.

"Seven hundred and fifty guaranteed hotel rooms, plus any additional hotel rooms from ticket buyers that come in," said Corl. "It's a very big deal for Asheville."

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