Stars ready for action in LA

July 21, 2006 08:20 PM

Four-Time Champion Agassi, Roddick, 2004 Winner Haas Join Hewitt, Safin
in 80th Countrywide Classic, July 24-30, at UCLA

Bryans head doubles draw for historic tournament

L.A. Countrywide Classic Lead 373x280
LOS ANGELES – Defending and four-time tournament champion and eight-time Grand Slam winner Andre Agassi heads the draw for the 80th Countrywide Classic, July 24-30, at the Los Angeles Tennis Center-UCLA.

Joining Agassi are 2003 U.S. Open champion and 2004 and 2005 Wimbledon finalist Andy Roddick, 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.

Roddick received one of the three singles wild cards. Other wild cards were awarded to 18-year-old Sam Querrey of Thousand Oaks and Scott Oudesma, 20, of Kalamazoo, Mich., winner of the July 21 All-American Shootout. Four qualifiers to be determined July 24 complete the 32-player draw.

Seeded players for the tournament are: 1) Roddick; 2) Hewitt; 3) Gonzalez; 4) Ginepri; 5) Agassi; 6) Haas; 7) Hrbaty; 8) Dmitry Tursunov.

Players from the original ATP Official Player Acceptance List who withdrew prior to the draw due to injury or illness included: Mario Ancic, Taylor Dent, Ivo Karlovic, Ivan Ljubicic, Feliciano Lopez, David Nalbandian, Greg Rusedski and Radek Stepanek.

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.

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

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