American Star To Return For Fourth Trip To New Haven; 7 Of Top 15 Now Competing
NEW HAVEN, Conn., August 11, 2004 – Jennifer Capriati, who thrilled the New Haven crowd last year when she won her 14th career WTA Tour title at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale, today announced her entry into the 2004 Pilot Pen field. With the addition of world No. 7 Capriati, Pilot Pen Tennis presented by Michelob ULTRA, a US Open Series event, which will be held August 20-28, now boasts seven of the world’s top 15 and 10 of the top 20 players.
Because she has entered after the official deadline, Capriati is listed as the next player to join the main draw, should one of the 19 direct entries withdraw before the tournament begins. Capriati’s ranking and her “gold exempt” status put her at the top of the “next in main draw” list. Should no players withdraw, the tournament will utilize one of its three remaining wild cards – to be awarded by August 19 – to place Capriati into the main draw. In addition to the three main draw wildcards, six players advancing from qualifying will complete the 28-player field.
“I am very excited to return to New Haven and defend my Pilot Pen title,” said Capriati.
Capriati’s last WTA Tour championship came here in New Haven last year, when she toppled Lindsay Davenport in the final. A winner of three Grand Slams (Australian Open 2001, Roland Garros 2001 and Australian Open 2002), Capriati has battled through injuries this year, withdrawing from several events including Los Angeles and San Diego last month because of a hamstring injury; yesterday she announced she would not compete at the Olympic Games in Athens. Her best results of 2004 include appearances in the finals at the Tier I event in Rome, the semifinals at Roland Garros and the quarterfinals at Wimbledon.
“We are delighted that our defending champion will return to defend her 2003 Pilot Pen title,” said Anne Worcester, tournament director. “Jennifer’s entry gives the Pilot Pen field yet another big name that fans and TV viewers love to watch.”
In addition to the 2003 title and a trip to the semifinals in 2001, Capriati also played in the qualifying draw at the Pilot Pen in 1998.
Capriati joins a strong field which includes fellow American, No. 4 Davenport; No. 6 Elena Dementieva, No. 8 Maria Sharapova, No. 15 Nadia Petrova and No. 19 Elena Bovina of Russia; No. 13 Paula Suarez of Argentina; No. 14 Ai Sugiyama of Japan; No. 18 Karolina Sprem of Croatia; and No. 20 Anna Smashnova-Pistolesi of Israel. A minimum of 25 players competing in the main and qualifying draws will also be competing at the Olympic Games in Athens this month.
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 seven of the top-15-ranked players, including Lindsay Davenport, Jennifer Capriati, Maria Sharapova and Elena Dementieva, have committed to the tournament. A total of 15½ 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.