Feb/13

17

Bourbon and BBQ – The Memphis Event

Grigor Dimitrov watching the action last year in Memphis.

Tournament Preview by Amanda H. LeMay

This year’s Memphis event, The U.S. National Indoor Championship, will be the last one to hold the ATP 500 distinction. When it was sold to Brazil last spring many locals feared that Memphis would lose its tennis connection all together but the owner of the tournament, Sharks Sports & Entertainment, decided to relocate its San Jose 250 event to the Bluff City. Who knows what this will mean for the future of the tournament, but this year it continues to boast a pretty good field.

2012 champion Jurgen Melzer, fresh off a final run in Zagreb, will return to defend his title while two time runner- up Milos Raonic will try to make the third time his charm. The American #1, John Isner, is this year’s #3 seed. Even though he has had a rocky start to 2013 and has some injury concerns, Memphis has always been a good tournament for him. He has played in the final and won the doubles with Sam Querrey in 2010. Returning after a two-year absence, Tommy Haas is the 6th seed after a fantastic 2012 season. He has won this title 3 times, most recently in 2007, and likes the indoor conditions. With a good draw, he could be a sleeper to go all the way to the final.

Playing here for the first time, Alexandr Dolgopolov of the Ukraine comes in as the 5th seed. With his unique playing style and easy going attitude on court he will be a must see for tennis fans at the tournament. Fan favorite Fernando Verdasco is also returning for the third time and this year he is bringing his friend and sometimes doubles partner, Feliciano Lopez.

The #1 seed will be Zagreb champ Marin Cilic. 2010 Memphis champ Sam Querrey and Japanese rising star Kei Nishikori round out the seeded players of this star-studded field. Other notables include American young guns Jack Sock (WC) who won the U.S. Open mixed doubles in 2011 and Ryan Harrison who is looking to improve on his career high ranking of 43.

Two-time grand slam champion Lleyton Hewitt received a wild card as well. Mardy Fish had planned to make Memphis his comeback event after pulling out of last year’s U.S. Open with complications from his heart condition. He has been a fixture at the Racquet Club since 2000 and enjoyed success over the years but unfortunately he has had to withdraw due to lingering health issues. Lukasz Kubot of Poland will take his place in the main draw.

This year’s doubles event will feature a return of the 13-time grand slam champion Bryan brothers. They have won the title twice before and will highlight the Wednesday night tournament schedule in addition to playing with their band for a live concert to benefit St Jude research hospital on Tuesday night. Also, Ryan and younger brother Christian Harrison have been granted a wildcard for doubles. After their run to the 2012 U.S. Open doubles quarterfinal they could be the team to watch for a surprise win! Christian has also been given a wildcard to play in the singles qualifying event (but was defeated by Michael Russell) joining big serving Ivo Karlovic, USC stand-out Steve Johnson and Australian Open mixed doubles winner Matthew Ebden, Donald Young, and Dennis Kudla.

Qualifying begins this Saturday, February 16th with the first main draw match set for Monday, the 18th.

Amanda H. LeMay is the Memphis correspondent for Tennis-prose.com She has previously covered the 2011 and 2012 events.

8 comments

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · February 18, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Young defeated his nemesis Russell in qualies to make the main draw, tough 3 setter.

  • Steve · February 18, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Nice line-up of players.

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · February 18, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Larcher De Brito lost in qualies though.

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · February 18, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    Another tough loss for Harrison, in a third set TB to the always tricky Kubot. Bet that racquet went airborne a few times today.

  • Dan Markowitz · February 18, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    Thanks, Amanda. It’s great to have you as an eye witness and tennis reporter down in Memphis. This is what makes Tennis-Prose.com special. Next week, both Scoop and I will be in Delray giving you some of the local flavor and we’ll be hitting balls out on the Delray courts so any readers who want to show up and introduce themselves to us–our pictures are up on the web site–we’d happy to both talk and play tennis with you.

    Geez, Harry has had a tough year. Good win for Young because Russell has continued at 35 to be a tough out for middle-ranked players. I hear Memphis is quite an original locale, sounds a little like Newport which I recommend to all tennis fans as a great vacation/tourney to attend.

    Monfils does play Delray which adds a very interesting wild card. Is he playing Memphis?

  • Mitch · February 18, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    Monfils is playing Marseille this week. I wonder why he’s going to Delray instead of Dubai?

  • Author comment by Scoop Malinowski · February 19, 2013 at 7:23 am

    Maybe the players like to play new events Mitch for the first time, plus it would give him a shorter trip to IW.

  • Dan Markowitz · February 19, 2013 at 7:42 am

    Probably as simple as Monfils got more money to play Delray than Dubai. In the past, Delray always tried to get an American big name player, Agassi, Roddick or Blake. Now, are you going to pay Isner or Querrey big money to play your event? Most likely not. I don’t think any American puts fannies in the seats, but Monfils does.

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