The U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship will be held at the River Oaks Country Club in Houston for the 18th time (it started in 1910 and has been played in many different towns since then, moving to Houston in 2001) and the organizers already managed to sign 4 great players. Defending champion Steve Johnson announced he will return to Houston, bidding to become the first back-to-back champion here since Andy Roddick in 2001-02, but that will not be easy, especially after the names of other 3 competitors were revealed.
2013 winner John Isner (he lost in the final a year earlier) returns to River Oaks for the 11th time and he is the only player who never missed this event since it moved to this location. Big server finished the season inside the Top 20, missing the opportunity to reach the ATP Finals after a semi-final loss in Paris Masters, and we could expect more good results in 2018, especially on the home soil where he won 10 out of his 12 ATP crowns so far.
Sam Querrey will compete in Houston for the 10th time, looking to win his first title here after he finished as the beaten finalist in 2010 and 2015. Sam is the second best-ranked American on the ATP rankings list, ending the season at the 13th position and eyeing more success in 2018, notably in front of the home crowd.
Kevin Anderson stands 14th on the list, just 55 points behind Sam, and he will join Isner, Johnson, and Querrey in the quest for the title in Houston, which would be his first trophy on the clay surface.
US Open finalist played in Houston 5 times in the past, reaching the semi-final in 2015, and he will try to make a bigger impact in the draw than this season when Fernando Verdasco edged him in 2 tie breaks in just under 2 hours.
The organizers will do their best to bring more players from the Top 30 but the base is already very solid and it should be a very fine ATP 250 event, known as the only clay tournament in the North America. In addition, six-time doubles champions Bob and Mike Bryan will play in Houston for the 16th time, and this should also attract a big crowd at the River Oaks Country Club between April 9-15.