TD Waterhouse Cup Leaves Long Island
By Tennis Week
The TD Waterhouse Cup, a popular Long Island tune-up tournament for the U.S. Open, will have a new home after organizers could not land a site on Long Island to host the tournament. Tennis Week has learned Chicago, New Haven and the Westside Tennis Club in Forest Hills, former home of the U.S. Open, are being considered as possible host sites for the tournament, scheduled to start on August 22nd.
TD Waterhouse Cup officials cancelled the tournament when a proposed plan to stage the event at Eisenhower Park on Long Island fell through. The tournament had been held at the Hamlet Golf and Country Club in Commack, N.Y. in recent years.
"Unfortunately, the negotiations between Hamlet Sports, Inc. and Nassau County to move the event to Eisenhower Park could not be completed in time to hold the tournament this year," TD Waterhouse Cup tournament director Kari Mutscheller told Tennis Week. "Therefore, the cancellation of the event is necessary. In the best interest of men's tennis, the tournament will have to move to a city to be determined by the ATP."
Last year, the ATP approved the tournament's expansion from a 32-player draw, $380,000 event to a 56-player draw event with $675,000 in prize money. Prior to the ATP's expansion approval, both Chicago and Atlanta had reportedly bid for hosting rights with The Tennis Channel reportedly authoring Atlanta's bid that proposed staging the tournament at Stone Mountain, which hosted the 1996 Olympics.
The TD Waterhouse Cup's former home off exit 53 on the Long Island Expressway was a popular path to the U.S. Open. The tournament was traditionally played the week before the season's final Grand Slam a short drive from Flushing Meadows. Since many players take a week off to practice prior to a major, the ATP was concerned if it approved either Atlanta or Chicago's bid to host a 32-player event the same week as the TD Waterhouse Cup, the events would not draw enough top players to produce an appealing field.
With officials unable to procure a host site on Long Island, Chicago is now back in the running as a possible host city.
The TD Waterhouse Cup was born as as an exhibition event called the Hamlet Challenge Cup, held in Jericho, Long Island.
The Hamlet Cup, as it was commonly known, was created in part to promote housing built near a country club. Initially, the tournament was played at the Hamlet East in Jericho, and throughout the 1980's it featured some of tennis' top stars, including Douglaston's John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Ilie Nastase and Stefan Edberg. The tournament — and the community promotion — was a success and after a 10-year run the event moved to Commack in 1990.
Pete Sampras, Patrick Rafter, Tommy Haas, Michael Chang, Alex Corretja, Magnus Norman, Richard Krajicek and Paradorn Srichaphan are among the leading players who have competed on Long Island in recent years. A two-time tournament finalist in 1997-98, Rafter went on to win the U.S. Open both years after competing on Long Island. Sampras reached the final in 2001 and went on to the U.S. Open final three weeks later, falling to Lleyton Hewitt. Three years ago, Sampras played Long Island and defeated Agassi to win the U.S. Open three weeks later. Lleyton Hewitt won Long Island last August and went on to reach the U.S. Open final, falling to Roger Federer.