Re: next tournament : Los Angeles
July 10, 2004
Withdrawals Take Big Toll on L.A. Event
By Peter Yoon, Times Staff Writer
The tale of tennis players pulling out of tournaments is nothing new, but a quirk in the schedule has caused the Mercedes-Benz Cup at UCLA to be hit particularly hard this year.
Seven players have withdrawn from the men's tournament during the last few days, including Lleyton Hewitt, a finalist last year, and three-time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten.
David Nalbandian, Mario Ancic, Xavier Malisse, James Blake and Jan-Michael Gambill also withdrew after previously committing to play. Another, Marat Safin, made an early commitment but never was officially entered in the tournament and will not play. Of them, only Blake did not cite injury or exhaustion. Blake's father died earlier this week after a yearlong battle with cancer. The funeral was Friday.
The Mercedes-Benz Cup has been played in August but was moved this year because of the Olympics. With players coming off of Wimbledon last week and preparing for the Olympics, tournament director Bob Kramer figured there might be some withdrawals.
"We were pleased with all of the early commitments we got," he said. "But this is a different summer. We are out of our traditional time frame."
Hewitt injured a quadriceps muscle during Wimbledon. Hewitt remains in Europe, and earlier this week a doctor advised him not to play.
Kuerten has been nagged by a sore hip for most of this season and his doctors have advised him not to play on hard courts. Nalbandian has an abdominal muscle tear and hasn't played since the French Open in May. Ancic has injuries to his shoulder and back, Malisse has a sore back, and Gambill cited exhaustion. Andre Agassi is the top-seeded player in the 32-player field, which starts play Monday.