WASHINGTON, D.C. -– Tournament officials announced one of the strongest player fields in its 41 year history, with their release of the entry list for the 2009 Legg Mason Tennis Classic presented by GEICO, an ATP World Tour 500 event, featuring four Top 10 and 10 Top 20 players. The field is led by defending champion and world No. 5 Juan Martin Del Potro and three-time Legg Mason Tennis Classic Champion Andy Roddick (2001, 2005 and 2007), currently ranked No. 6 in the world.
The annual summer classic returns to the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center (16th and Kennedy Streets, N.W.) in Rock Creek Park from Aug. 1-9, marking Legg Mason’s 16th year as title sponsor, the longest running tennis sponsorship in North America. The field includes an exciting international mix of top players (some making their Legg Mason Tennis Classic debut), such as No. 9 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA); No. 10 Fernando Gonzalez (CHI), a finalist in his last Legg Mason Tennis Classic appearance, 2003; No. 12 Robin Soderling (SWE), who shocked everyone with his upset of world No. 1 Rafael Nadal en route to the French Open final; No. 13 Marin Cilic (CRO); No. 14 Gael Monfils (FRA), a semifinalist in his only DC appearance, 2007; No. 15 Tommy Robredo (ESP); No. 17 James Blake (USA), who won his first ever ATP World Tour title here in 2002 and 2005 finalist, he last played in 2006; No. 20 Tomas Berdych (CZE), who last played here in 2005, reaching the semifinals; No. 22 Dmitry Tursunov (RUS); No. 23 Radek Stepanek (CZE); and No. 25 Mardy Fish (USA).
Other notable names in singles include: 2004 Legg Mason Tennis Classic champion Lleyton Hewitt (AUS); 2006 champion Arnaud Clement (FRA); Igor Andreev (RUS); Ivo Karlovic (CRO): and American Sam Querrey, currently ranked No. 47. The world’s top-ranked doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan, three-time Legg Mason champions, will lead the doubles field, which will be announced in July.
“The elevation to an ATP World Tour 500 event is a key factor in the strength of this year’s player field,” said Jeff Newman, Tournament Director. “Today’s announcement shows the importance of our elevation, receiving acceptances from top players making their debut in Washington, D.C. or returning after several years. The tournament has made a major investment for the sport of tennis in the Washington, D.C. region in order to secure top player fields, which will provide tremendous value to our fans and sponsors.”
The 2009 Legg Mason Tennis Classic begins a new era of professional men’s tennis with the re-branding of the ATP to the ATP World Tour and the creation of a new classification of elite events called ATP World Tour 500’s. The Legg Mason Tennis Classic has been elevated to this prestigious group of tournaments worldwide and is therefore recognized by the ATP World Tour as one of the top 20 men’s tournaments in the world. As a member of this new classification, the tournament will more than double the prize money offered ($500,000 to $1.2M) and nearly triple the number of points offered for players. The winner of the tournament will now receive $300,000 and 500 points toward his ranking -- hence the new category name for this level of events (the 2008 Legg Mason Tennis Classic champion, Del Potro, earned $80,000 and 175 points for his victory here).
In addition to the elevation within the ATP World Tour, the Legg Mason Tennis Classic will continue to be a member of the Olympus US Open Series, which links 10 summer tournaments to the US Open, the largest annually attended sporting event in the world.
The Olympus US Open Series brings together these 10 tournaments in North America, three television networks, tennis’ sanctioning bodies and top corporate sponsors during the summer tennis season. Since its launch in 2004, the Olympus US Open Series has doubled television viewership of tennis, increased total event attendance and contributed to the growing popularity of the sport.
For more information on the Legg Mason Tennis Classic presented by GEICO, or to order ticket packages -– including Weeklong Packages ranging from $165-$525, Partial Week Packages ranging from $135-$205, Suites/Corporate Receptions and Discounted Group Packages -– please call 202-721-9500 or visit the tournament website at www.leggmasontennisclassic.com. Single-session tickets, ranging in price from $10-$70 –- based on location, session date and time –- are available through all TicketMaster outlets, 202-397-SEAT (7328), 703-573-SEAT, or 410-547-SEAT and on-line at www.tickemaster.com or the tournament website.
A portion of the proceeds from the tournament will benefit the programs of the Washington Tennis & Education Foundation (WTEF).
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About The Washington Tennis & Education Foundation
The Washington Tennis & Education Foundation (WTEF), Winner of the 2008 Washington Post Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management, seeks to improve the life prospects for D.C. area youth, particularly those from lower-income communities, through tennis, education and community-based activities that teach discipline, build self-esteem and improve academic performance. For more information, visit www.wtef.org.
About Legg Mason
Legg Mason is a global asset management firm, with $632 billion in assets under management at March 31, 2009. The company provides active asset management in many major investment centers throughout the world. Legg Mason is headquartered in Baltimore, Md., and its common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol: LM). www.leggmason.com
BEST is a unified full-service sports and entertainment company. Current clients include Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes, 2009 NFL Draft first round picks Aaron Maybin and Percy Harvin, Reggie Bush, DeAngelo Hall; NBA All-Stars Shawn Marion and Rasheed Wallace, as well as potential 2009 NBA Lottery pick Ricky Rubio; Australian, French and US Open Champion Justine Henin, and ATP No. 1-ranked doubles team Bob and Mike Bryan. Media & Event properties include the US Open Tennis Championship, the French Open Tennis Championship, the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, numerous U.S.-based ATP tournaments, Rock ’n Racquets, Hoop It Up, Let It Fly, Kick It, the Boston Marathon, the Superstars Competition, Ice Wars, the World Cup of Softball, The Hartford Hall of Fame Showcase and the Men’s and Women’s Fifth Third Bank Tennis Championships. www.experienceBEST.com.
Click here for the complete players' list.