LOS ANGELES – Australian tennis legend Frank Sedgman, a two-time Los Angeles champion, will be the 2004 tournament honoree at the 78th annual Mercedes-Benz Cup presented by Countrywide, July 12-18, at the Los Angeles Tennis Center-UCLA.
Past tournament honorees at the Mercedes-Benz Cup include: Ellsworth Vines and Alice Marble, Don Budge, Fred Perry, Bobby Riggs, Frank Parker, Jack Kramer, Ted Schroeder, Pancho Gonzalez, Arthur Ashe, Vic Seixas, Tony Trabert, Stefan Edberg, Pancho Segura, Boris Becker, Rod Laver, Alex Olmedo, Allen Fox and Louise Brough, and Michael Chang.
The player field for the Mercedes-Benz Cup presented by Countrywide includes defending champion Wayne Ferreira of South Africa, 2003 finalist Lleyton Hewitt of Australia, and American standouts Bob and Mike Bryan, Mardy Fish, Taylor Dent, Vincent Spadea and Robby Ginepri.
“Frank Sedgman is one of the truly great champions of our tournament and the sport of tennis,” said Tournament Director Bob Kramer. “We are pleased and proud to be able to recognize him for his many accomplishments.”
Sedgman, who won back-to-back Los Angeles singles titles in 1950-51, stands third among all-time male champions with 22 major victories in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. He owns two Australian and two U.S. singles titles and one Wimbledon singles crown. In 1951, Sedgman became the first of nine Australian men to win U.S. championships at Forest Hills, and he repeated in 1952. He teamed with countryman Ken McGregor in 1951 to capture the only Grand Slam in men’s doubles by winning all the majors (Australian, Wimbledon, French and U.S.) within a calendar year. In 1952, his last season as an amateur, Sedgman became the last man to claim a Wimbledon triple, winning the singles, doubles (with McGregor) and mixed doubles (with Doris Hart). In 1950, at age 22, he sparked an Australian revival in Davis Cup, leading his country to the first of three consecutive titles. Sedgman turned professional in 1953 and toured with Jack Kramer, becoming the first male player to earn more than $100,000 in a season. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1979.
The Mercedes-Benz Cup features a 32-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles competition. The landmark Southern California tournament is the longest running annual professional sporting event in Los Angeles, and offers total player compensation in excess of $1 million.
The 2004 Mercedes-Benz Cup marks the first men’s event in the new US Open Series, a historic breakthrough for the sport that links 10 summer hard-court tournaments to the US Open, creating a cohesive, six-week summer tennis season for ATP and WTA Tour professional tournaments in North America.
Previous winners of the Mercedes-Benz Cup, whose history dates to 1927, include Andre Agassi, Michael Chang, Pete Sampras, Jim Courier, Michael Stich, Boris Becker, Richard Krajicek, Stefan Edberg, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Arthur Ashe, Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Pancho Gonzalez, Jack Kramer, Don Budge, Ellsworth Vines and Bill Tilden. South African Wayne Ferreira, who resides in Berkeley, is defending champion of the Mercedes-Benz Cup.
Proceeds from the Mercedes-Benz Cup, held in conjunction with UCLA, benefit the grassroots programs of the non-profit Southern California Tennis Association (SCTA) and UCLA. The SCTA offers programs, leagues, and tournaments involving 300,000 juniors and 50,000 adults and seniors. Inquiries regarding tickets and information may be directed to the Mercedes-Benz Cup tournament office on the UCLA campus. For information, please call 310-824-1010 or visit online at www.mercedes-benzcup.com.