Los Angeles: July 24-30

July 21, 2006 05:06 PM

Andy Roddick Accepts Wild Card for 80th Countrywide Classic, July 24-30, at UCLA

Joins Agassi, Hewitt, Bryans, Safin, Haas, Ginepri in draw

Andy Roddick returns a shot to Ramon Delgado in his second-round match at the RCA Championships© Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
LOS ANGELES – Andy Roddick, the 2003 U.S. Open champion and Wimbledon finalist in 2004 and 2005, has accepted a wild card to play in the 80th Countrywide Classic, July 24-30, at the Los Angeles Tennis Center-UCLA. Singles wild cards also will be issued to the winner of today’s (July 21) All-American Shootout and another player to be determined prior to tonight’s (July 21) draw.

Roddick is joined in the draw by defending champion, four-time tournament champion and eight-time Grand Slam winner Andre Agassi, former world No. 1 and two-time Grand Slam champion Lleyton Hewitt of Australia, two-time Grand Slam champion Marat Safin of Russia, 2004 Countrywide Classic champion Tommy Haas of Germany, Robby Ginepri, Mardy Fish, Slovakia’s Dominik Hrbaty, Paradorn Srichaphan of Thailand, and Chilean Davis Cup star Fernando Gonzalez. The doubles draw is headed by the record-setting Bryan twins, Bob and Mike, of Camarillo, who have won three of the last four Grand Slam doubles titles.

Agassi, the Bryans and tennis great Pam Shriver (joining in as chair umpire) will be part of the high-profile, star-studded fifth annual “Gibson Baldwin Night at the Net,” Monday, July 24. Celebrity participants include actor/comedian Jon Lovitz, Entourage star Jeremy Piven and Jack and Stench from “the Jamie, Jack and Stench Show” on STAR 98.7 FM as ball boys for the event. The evening’s musical performer will be GRAMMY® Award winner Brian McKnight, and Verve Recording artist Mindi Abair will sing the National Anthem.

Dennis Ralston, a Bakersfield native and USC alum whose career included winning the 1965 Los Angeles title over Arthur Ashe and the rare double of winning the Davis Cup as both a player and captain, will be the tournament honoree.

Roddick has won 20 ATP titles. He has finished in the top three in the ATP rankings the last three years. He has won at least four titles each of the last three years. He won five titles in seven finals last year. Roddick won a career-best six titles in 2003. His best results this year were the semifinals at London/Queen’s Club and at San Jose and the quarterfinals at Miami, Rome, Houston and Memphis. Roddick is making his third appearance in Los Angeles, his first since 2002, when he was a semifinalist.

The Countrywide Classic features a 32-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles competition. The landmark Southern California ATP tournament is the longest running annual professional sporting event in Los Angeles, and offers total player compensation in excess of $1 million

With 64 tournaments in 31 countries, the ATP showcases the finest athletes competing in the world’s most exciting venues.

For the third consecutive year, the Countrywide Classic will also be a part of the U.S. Open Series, the eight-week summer tennis season linking 10 major ATP and WTA Tour tournaments to the U.S. Open. Television viewership for the 2005 U.S. Open Series generated significant increases, attracting more than 40 million viewers.

Previous winners of the Countrywide Classic, whose history dates to 1927, include Agassi, Michael Chang, Pete Sampras, Jim Courier, Michael Stich, Boris Becker, Richard Krajicek, Stefan Edberg, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Stan Smith, Arthur Ashe, Rod Laver, Ken Rosewall, Pancho Gonzalez, Jack Kramer, Bobby Riggs, Don Budge, Ellsworth Vines, Fred Perry and Bill Tilden. Agassi became a four-time winner of the event last year.

Proceeds from the Countrywide Classic, 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 Countrywide Classic tournament office on the UCLA campus. For information, please call 310-824-1010 or visit www.countrywideclassic.com.

About Countrywide Financial Corporation
Founded in 1969, Countrywide Financial Corporation (NYSE: CFC) – America’s #1 home loan lender as ranked for 2005 by Inside Mortgage Finance (Jan. 27, 2006), Copyright 2006 – is a member of the S&P 500 and Fortune 500. Countrywide, through its subsidiaries, provides mortgage banking and diversified financial services in domestic and international markets. Mortgage banking businesses include loan production and servicing principally through Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., which originates, purchases, securitizes, sells, and services residential loans. The company is headquartered in Calabasas, California and has a workforce of more than 55,000 individuals and over 800 offices worldwide. For more information about the company, visit Countrywide’s Web site at www.countrywide.com.