New Haven: August 21-26

July 5, 2006 02:10 PM

Blake Commits to Pilot Pen

James Blake will try to defend his Pilot Pen title in 2006© Phil Cole/Getty Images
James Blake, defending Pilot Pen men’s champion, US Open quarterfinalist and newly crowned Las Vegas champion, has committed to Pilot Pen Tennis presented by Michelob ULTRA, a US Open Series event and part of the ATP Tour and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, it was announced today by Anne Worcester, tournament director.

Blake, who has now reached a career high of No. 14 in the ATP world rankings, becomes the first ATP Tour player to commit to the Pilot Pen, set for August 18-26, 2006 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale. The tournament will finish on Saturday this year, with the women’s final taking place in the afternoon and the men’s final at night.

“Having our defending champion commit to the tournament this early in the year is a strong statement about what fans can expect from the 2006 Pilot Pen,” said Worcester. “James’ meteoric rise in the rankings will make it even more exciting for fans to join the J-Block and cheer on the hometown favorite at this year’s Pilot Pen.”

Blake’s nationally recognized and boisterous cheering section, dubbed the “J-Block” by the Pilot Pen officials, will likely grow in size this year, so fans should get their tickets early. Ticket packages go on sale Wednesday, March 15, and range from Weeklong Box Seats (the best seats in the house for all 15 sessions starting at $400/seat) to the Family Four Pack (four middle tier tickets for the session of your choice, 4 hot dogs, 4 sodas and two tournament posters starting at $64).

“I was proud to participate in the return of men’s tennis to Connecticut last year at the Pilot Pen. I grew up in the area, was a ballboy at the Pilot Pen and I am proud to now be the defending champion. What an experience!” said Blake. “To be able to win in front of my friends and family is one of my greatest memories to date. It was a big turning point for me and propelled me to my great finish at the US Open and then throughout the rest of 2005.”

Blake followed up his magical Pilot Pen run last year by reaching the US Open quarterfinals and winning the tournament in Stockholm, Sweden and started off 2006 with a win at Sydney. This past weekend he added another trophy to his collection with a three-set victory over Lleyton Hewitt in the finals of the Tennis Channel Open in Las Vegas, Nevada.

For a more information about the tournament or a ticket brochure, please call the Pilot Pen Tennis Box Office, 888/99-PILOT, 203/776-7331, or log on to www.pilotpentennis.com.

About Pilot Pen Tennis presented by Michelob ULTRA
The 2006 Pilot Pen presented by Michelob ULTRA (www.pilotpentennis.com), a US Open Series event on the ATP Tour and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, will be held August 18-26 at the Connecticut Tennis Center at Yale.

The Pilot Pen is the first ever combined men’s and women’s summer tournament leading into the US Open. Some of the biggest names in men’s and women’s tennis played in the 2005 Pilot Pen such as ATP Tour players James Blake (Pilot Pen Tennis men’s champion), Feliciano Lopez, Tommy Haas and David Ferrer and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour players Lindsay Davenport (Pilot Pen Tennis women’s champion), Amelie Mauresmo, Elena Dementieva and Daniela Hantuchova. The 2005 Pilot Pen drew 100,000 spectators and was televised nationally on 20 hours of ESPN2 and CBS Sports. For information on tickets, travel packages, sponsorships or on how to become a volunteer at the 2006 Pilot Pen, call the Pilot Pen Tennis office at (203) 776-7331 or (888) 99-PILOT.

About the US Open Series
The US Open Series, launched in 2004, is the cohesive, six-week summer tennis season of 10 North American tournaments linked to the US Open. The Series has produced record attendance, TV viewership and live broadcast hours for the sport. In total, the US Open Series events -- including the US Open -- generated a record 1.6 million attendees, 128 million TV viewers and over 28 million website visits making it the strongest summertime property in sports. Kim Clijsters and Andy Roddick are the defending US Open Series champions. By winning the US Open and the US Open Series, Clijsters doubled her prize money to earn $2.2 million - - the largest purse in women's sports history.

 

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