Indianapolis: July 17-23

July 5, 2006 11:15 AM

Safin Accepts Wild Card at RCAs

Eighteen-year-old American Sam Querrey also accepts wild card

Marat Safin will compete in Indianapolis this year as a wild card© CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images
INDIANAPOLIS -- The RCA Championships filled two of their four wild card openings with a proven champion and a rising American teenager.

Two-time Grand Slam champion Marat Safin of Russia and 18-year-old American Sam Querrey accepted wild cards to play in the 2006 RCA Championships, which will be held July 15-23, at the Indianapolis Tennis Center on the campus of IUPUI.

Prior to missing the second half of 2005 due to knee surgery, Safin captured his second career Grand Slam title in 2005 by defeating Federer in the semifinals and Aussie favorite Hewitt in the finals. Despite the season ending knee surgery Safin finished the year at No.
13 on the INDESIT ATP Rankings. He was a finalist at Halle and a quarterfinalist at AMS Cincinnati. Safin, currently ranked No. 87 on INDESIT ATP Rankings, didn’t step back on the court until February at Dubai and is starting to regain his form.

“We are delighted that Marat requested a wild card to play in the tournament,” said Tournament Director Kevin Martin. “He is extremely entertaining to watch and his current ranking does not reflect his talent. He is one of the elite tennis players in the world. Marat has been called the “future of tennis” and his two Grand Slam titles prove that.”

He was a semifinalist at Valencia and reached the round of 16 at AMS Indian Wells. Safin, who held the No. 1 ranking for nine weeks in 2000, owns 15 career singles titles including the US and Australian Open Grand Slam titles and five AMS singles titles. This will be his
first appearance in Indianapolis since 2001. He is 7-2 on the Indianapolis hardcourts and was the runner-up in 2000 (l. to. Kuerten) and a semifinalist in 2001 (l to. Rafter).

Before turning pro in May of 2006, the 6’6” Querrey from Thousand Oaks, CA had an outstanding junior career. He ranked as high as No. 10 in the world on the ITF junior rankings. His career highlights thus far include winning the USTA Spring International Championships and the Easter Bowl in back-to-back weeks. The aggressive teen reached the quarterfinals at the French Open Juniors and the round of 16 at the Wimbledon and US Open Juniors. He played in the 2006 AMS Indian Wells as an amateur and reached the second round where he took a set from James Blake, before falling 1-6, 6-1, 6-3.

About Querrey, Martin said, “I had the chance to see Sam play at the NASDAQ in March and could see the potential he has. We are always looking for young players that are on the verge of breaking out in their pro career. Sam appears to be there.”

The RCA Championships is a world-class tennis event held annually in Indianapolis. The event, which traces its roots back to 1920, has hosted such notable players as Pete Sampras, Arthur Ashe, Jimmy Connors, Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick.

Tickets for the 2006 RCA Championships can be purchased by calling 800-622-LOVE or by visiting any Ticketmaster location. For more information please go to