One could easily argue that the U.S. Open Series doesn’t start in Indianapolis or Los Angeles, but in our nation’s capital — because that’s when the top tenners show up. Tennis-X will be there all week to bring you live coverage from next week’s Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington, D.C.
This year’s Legg Mason (LMTC) is bigger and better than ever, after being boosted up to ATP World Tour 500 status. That means better everything: 8 of the world’s top 20 players will compete, with more ranking points to the winner (500 vs. 175), not to mention a larger purse ($1.4 million vs. $600,000).
Washington has played host to great players through its long history. Among the top players coming to D.C. for the first time this year are Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Robin Soderling, Marin Cilic, and Tommy Robredo. Former finalist Fernando Gonzalez will be here for the first time since 2003.
Despite a few last minute withdrawals by James Blake (foot), Arnaud Clement, Gael Monfils (wrist), and Radek Stepanek (knee), there’s a slew of other top names in the field including Lleyton Hewitt, Tommy Haas, Tomas Berdych, Ivo Karlovic, Juan Carlos Ferrero, and last year’s finalist Viktor Troicki. Doubles action will include 5 of the top 10 teams in the ATP, led by the Bryan Brothers, and including defending champions Bruno Soares and Kevin Ullyett.
Qualifiers begin Saturday at the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center in Rock Creek Park, in a field that includes Nicolas Lapentti, Josselin Ouanna, Jesse Levine, Vince Spadea, and former NCAA #1 and UVA alumni Somdev Devvarman, all competing for remaining six spots in the main draw.
Berdych and DC Mayor Adrian Fenty took part in the Official Draw ceremony this afternoon. Wildcards went to Americans Donald Young, Alexander Domijan and Michael Russell, and Jerzy Janowicz.
Three-time Legg Mason champ and ’09 Wimbledon finalist Andy Roddick is scheduled to play on Tuesday night, which just so happens to be Andy Roddick Foundation Day. Monday’s schedule will likely include ’04 champ Hewitt taking on Young, plus Americans Sam Querrey and John Isner. Some great first-round matches to watch will be Robert Kendrick vs. Mikhail Youzhny, Robby Ginepri vs. Benjamin Becker, Igor Kunitsyn vs. Federico Gil, and Wayne Odesnik taking on Paul Capdeville. Defending champion Juan Martin del Potro, Tsonga and Gonzalez are expected to play Tuesday or Wednesday.
Oh, and did I mention that I’ll be there, too? Just like way back in ’06, when I blogged the LMTC for the first time. As a D.C. resident and longtime LMTC box holder, I’ll be putting my own local spin on the tournament. As an added bonus, I’ll be Tweeting live from the grounds all week (follow me at twitter.com/lynnlovestennis), as well as posting recaps here at the X-Blog.
Legg Mason Tennis Classic
August 1-9, 2009
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