Slovakian Becomes 25th Olympian To Join PPT Field; Late Entry Would Gain Spot With Any Main Draw Withdrawal
NEW HAVEN, Conn., July 27, 2004 – Slovakia’s Daniela Hantuchova, who reached a career-best ranking of No. 5 last year, has announced her intention to compete at the 2004 Pilot Pen presented by Michelob ULTRA, a US Open Series event. As Hantuchova’s entry comes after the July 5 deadline, she does not immediately qualify for the main draw; because of her current No. 34 ranking, Hantuchova would be the first player to earn a spot should any of the 19 direct entries withdraw prior to the tournament, set for August 20-28 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale.
Hantuchova could also receive a main draw wild card should no players withdraw. It would be her fourth trip to New Haven; she made a strong semifinal run at the 2002 Pilot Pen for her best showing here. Hantuchova fell in the second round (first match) as the No. 4 seed here last year, and lost in the qualifying draw finals in her first visit in 2001.
The 21-year-old began her meteoric rise in the women’s tennis world in 2001 when she improved her ranking by more than 70 spots into the top 40. She made the big jump into the top 10 the following year, which included her first WTA Tour title at the Tier I event in Indian Wells, Calif. She slipped out of the top 20 this year but has shown signs of regaining her form, reaching the finals at the Wimbledon tune-up at Eastbourne, which included wins over Amelie Mauresmo and Wimbledon quarterfinalist Karolina Sprem. She will also be representing Slovakia at the Olympic Games in Athens next month.
“It’s a nice bonus that Daniela has entered the Pilot Pen for the fourth straight year,” said Anne Worcester, tournament director. “It’s nice to see that she’s playing well again and we look forward to seeing her in New Haven in three weeks time.”
Hantuchova joins an impressive field which includes No. 2 Kim Clijsters of Belgium; No. 4 Lindsay Davenport of the USA; No. 6 Elena Dementieva, No. 8 Maria Sharapova, No. 12 Nadia Petrova and No. 15 Vera Zvonareva of Russia; No. 13 Paula Suarez of Argentina; No. 17 Anna Smashnova-Pistolesi of Israel; and No. 20 Sprem of Croatia. The tournament retains three main draw wild cards and six qualifying wild cards, which will be awarded by August 19.
About Pilot Pen Tennis presented by Michelob ULTRA
“New England’s Premier Women’s Sports Entertainment Event of the Year.” The 2004 Pilot Pen presented by Michelob ULTRA (www.pilotpentennis.com), a US Open Series event, will be held August 20-28 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale. Four of the world’s top 10 and eight of the top-15-ranked players, including Kim Clijsters, Lindsay Davenport, Maria Sharapova and Elena Dementieva, have committed to the tournament. A total of 14 hours of Pilot Pen Tennis action will be televised nationally on ESPN, ESPN2 and CBS Sports. For information on tickets, travel packages, sponsorships or on how to become a volunteer at the 2004 Pilot Pen, call the Pilot Pen Tennis office at 203/776-7331 or 888/99-PILOT.