LOS ANGELES – Action gets underway Friday, July 9 at the Mercedes-Benz Cup presented by Countrywide, with the All-American Shootout. Several outstanding players are expected to compete for one of the wild card berths in the tournament, which will be played July 12-18 at the Los Angeles Tennis Center-UCLA.
Heading up the Mercedes-Benz Cup player field are defending champion Wayne Ferreira of South Africa, 2003 finalist Lleyton Hewitt of Australia, American stars Andre Agassi, Mardy Fish, Taylor Dent, James Blake, Robby Ginepri, Vincent Spadea and twins Bob and Mike Bryan, as well as other international stars Mario Ancic, Mark Philippoussis, Sjeng Schalken, and Paradorn Srichaphan.
Qualifying for the final four berths in the 32-player draw for the Mercedes-Benz Cup will be conducted Saturday, July 10, beginning at 9:30 a.m. and will conclude Sunday, July 11, beginning at noon. Admission is free. Noah Newman of Beverly Hills defeated Adam Webster of Santa Barbara 6-2, 6-2 June 27 to win the Mercedes-Benz Cup presented by Countrywide pre-qualifying tournament at the Los Angeles Tennis Club.
As the lone survivor in a field of 300, Newman earned a spot in the Mercedes-Benz Cup main qualifier. The doubles wild-card was won by Newman and Webster over Zach Bromberg of Tucson and Kevin McQuaid of San Jose 6-2, 6-7, 6-2. Newman and Webster earned a wild card into a doubles shootout July 11. The winner of the doubles shootout earns a spot in the doubles main draw of the Mercedes-Benz Cup.
The Wilson Family Tennis Clinic Saturday, July 10 at the UCLA-Sunset Canyon Recreation Center is held during qualifying weekend. Gibson/Baldwin “A Night at the Net” Monday, July 12 launches the tournament week special events calendar. Tuesday, July 13 brings Kids Day. Melissa Gertler, 11, of Tarzana won the Kids Poster Contest. Racquet Days are Monday, July 12 and Tuesday, July 13. Senior Day is slated for Thursday, July 15, and Ladies Day is Friday, July 16. Other special events are High School Day Monday, July 12, Operation Freedom Days Monday, July 12 and Tuesday, July 13, and Read-To-Serve Book Day Thursday, July 15.
All kids are invited to attend a free clinic conducted by Wilson touring professionals, USTA staff and tournament players Sunday, July 11 at 10:30 a.m. at the UCLA-Sunset Canyon Recreation Center. Kids should bring their own racquet.
Gibson/Baldwin “A Night at the Net” benefits MusiCares, the charity arm of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Participants include the Bryan brothers, Lleyton Hewitt, Mark Philippoussis, Danny Aiello, Jillian Barberie, Dr. Phil, Paul Rodriguez, John Salley, Jon Lovitz, Mathew St. Patrick, Wilson Phillips, Ben Arthur and Hayley Westenra.
Donate a serviceable tennis racquet and receive one free ticket for the Monday, July 12 or Tuesday, July 13 day sessions. All donated racquets are used in the many worthwhile junior tennis programs conducted by the USTA-Southern California Section, including the Amateur Athletic Foundation’s National Junior Tennis League and USTA Schools Program.
Admission is free for kids under 16 Tuesday, July 13 at 9 a.m. Parents and chaperones can purchase tickets for $5. Tickets are available on the morning of July 13 only. They include tickets to the afternoon tennis matches that day. The Bryans will be on hand, and there will be an ATP tennis exhibition.
Everyone age 50 and over is welcome to attend Senior Day. The day begins at 10 a.m. with a delicious brunch, during which the legendary Vic Braden will visit, followed by a reserved seat for the day session, beginning at noon.
Ladies Day includes a hands-on clinic conducted by the Wilson Advisory Staff, followed by lunch in a private hospitality suite while experts conduct a fashion and beauty seminar. All ladies will receive their choice of an on-site manicure or massage. The day includes the best seats available for quarterfinal round matches.
All high school tennis players are admitted free for the Monday, July 12 day session. For information, call Darren Potkey at 310-208-3838. High school coaches are welcome to attend the third annual Coaches Clinic at 10 a.m. For information and to make reservations, contact Kristin Bachochin at Wilson Sporting Goods at 310-823-4975.
To help show the tournament’s support of, and appreciation for, U.S. troops, any active duty military or active reserve member and their guests (up to total of four) will receive free admission for the Monday, July 12 or Tuesday, July 13 day sessions. Valid military ID is required. Tickets are subject to availability.
Donate a brand new, age appropriate book (K-12th grade) and receive a free ticket to the Thursday, July 15 day session. All books will be donated to the L.A. Unified School District’s “Beyond the Bell/Read to Serve” program.
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 tournament 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. Two-time Los Angeles champion Frank Sedgman (1950-51) is the 2004 Tournament Honoree.
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.