HOUSTON – American Mardy Fish will be the top seed at next week's US Men's Clay Court Championship at River Oaks Country Club, which will be his first tournament as the top-ranked American on the ATP World Tour. Fish is one of eight American's participating in the April 4-10 tournament after his countryman Ryan Sweeting was granted the event's third and final wild card.
Fish became the No. 1 player from the U.S. on Wednesday with a straight sets win over David Ferrer in the Miami quarterfinals. When the new rankings are released Monday, Fish will be ranked higher than Andy Roddick, who has been the top American since 2008. Fish is projected to climb from his current career high of No. 15 to No. 11 by reaching the Miami semifinals, and would likely reach the Top 10 if he were to advance to the Miami final.
Sweeting's wild card brings the total number of Americans in the field for 2011 to eight, including six of the seven Americans who are ranked in the Top 100. The 23-year-old played a brief collegiate career at the University of Florida and was the 2005 US Open junior champion. He is currently at his career high ranking on the ATP World Tour after reaching the quarterfinals in Delray Beach and third round in Indian Wells. This will be Sweeting's third main draw appearance in Houston, including last year when he reached the second round as a qualifier before falling to Chile's Nicolas Massu in a third set.
Four players have been added to the field this week. In addition to Sweeting, former Australian Open finalist Rainer Schuettler of Germany, Russian Igor Kunitsyn and Germany's Mischa Zverev have joined the field. Schuettler took the place of 2010 champion Juan Ignacio Chela, who withdrew for personal reasons, while Kunitsyn and Daniel entered the field after all possible special exempt spots from Miami were eliminated.
Twenty-four of the field of 28 players has been set, with four more to enter through this weekend's qualifying tournament, including Americans James Blake and Ryan Harrison, who join Sweeting as the wild card entrants. The top four seeds for this year's event will be Fish at No. 1, 2010 finalist Sam Querrey at No. 2, Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez at No. 3 and American John Isner at No. 4. These four players will have first round byes.
The 2011 main draw will be made a 3 p.m. on Friday, and will be conducted as a special Twitter event featuring 2011 US Men's Clay Court Championship participant Somdev Devvarman of India. Devvarman is a two-time NCAA Champion from the University of Virginia and also a Commonwealth Games gold medalist. He is ranked a career high this week, having reached the final earlier this year in Johannesburg and the fourth round at Indian Wells.
As the draw is made, the match ups will instantly be tweeted by the tournament at www.twitter.com/mensclaycourt, then Devvarman will offer his opinion on the match at www.twitter.com/SomdevD. To make following easier, the conversation will be aggregated using the hashtag #ATPHouston (http://twitter.com/#search?q=ATPHouston).
Tickets for select individual sessions at the 2011 US Men’s Clay Court Championship remain available. The Champ Pass and season ticket packages have sold out for the 2011 event. Information on tickets can be found at www.mensclaycourt.com
or by calling 713-874-6294. Patrons with tickets they will not able to use may return them to the River Oaks box office. Those tickets will then be on sale at the box office for face value with the entire purchase price being donated to the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Childrens.
US Men’s Clay Court Championship at River Oaks Country Club
The 102nd competition for the US Men’s Clay Court Championship will be held April 4-10, 2011, at River Oaks Country Club in Houston. Started by the USTA in 1910, it has been held at numerous venues around the country. The tournament has been held in Houston since 2001, and will be held at River Oaks Country Club for the third straight year. Prior to hosting the US Men’s Clay Court Championship, River Oaks Country Club hosted its own event, The River Oaks International. Started in 1931, the River Oaks International roster of former champions includes Jack Kramer, Tony Trabert, Rod Laver, Roy Emerson, Ken Rosewall, Ivan Lendl, Guillermo Vilas and James Blake. The 2011 US Men’s Clay Court Championship will be the 77th tournament at River Oaks, with the club hosting a tournament every year since 1946 after a four-year lapse due to the war. More information is available at www.mensclaycourt.com
or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mensclaycourt