LOS ANGELES – Two-time Farmers Classic champion and Southern Californian Sam Querrey, fellow American James Blake, France’s Nicolas Mahut and Belgium’s Xavier Malisse, the tournament’s reigning doubles champion, are among the players initially entered in the draw at the 86th-annual Farmers Classic, presented by Mercedes-Benz, July 23-29 at the Los Angeles Tennis Center-UCLA.
Daily tickets for the Farmers Classic, the longest-running annual professional sporting event in Los Angeles, went on sale to the general public this week and are available at www.FarmersClassic.com, Ticketmaster, or by calling (310) 825-2101.
The Farmers Classic, presented by Mercedes-Benz, features a 28-player singles and 16-team doubles competition. Los Angeles County’s only top-tier pro tennis event, and an ATP World Tour stop on the Emirates Airline US Open Series, awards total prize money of $700,000.
Proceeds from the Farmers Classic, held in conjunction with UCLA, benefit the grassroots programs of the non-profit Southern California Tennis Association (SCTA) and UCLA. In 2011, the tournament and associated special events raised more than $200,000 for the SCTA, the Grammy Foundation and other charities.
"This stage of the year is always an exciting time in tennis, with the French Open just completed and Wimbledon and the U.S. hardcourt season just around the corner," Farmers Classic Tournament Director Bob Kramer said. "It’s never too early to reserve seats for the Farmers Classic while seating options are plentiful. The LA Tennis Center makes for an intimate and intense fan experience because you are incredibly close to the court and the action. Fans watching Wimbledon in the next few weeks can see many of the same players at the Farmers Classic."
Querrey, owner of six ATP singles titles, returns to the Farmers Classic for the first time since winning his second consecutive title at the LA Tennis Center in 2010. Leading up to his return to the Farmers Classic, where his star was born on the ATP Tour, the 24-year-old Querrey reached the semifinals of the Aegon Championships in London. "I’m excited about returning and playing at the Farmers Classic, especially in front of the enthusiastic LA tennis fans at my hometown event," said Querrey, who grew up iThousand Oaks and resided in Santa Monica the first several years of his career. "The crowds are always great at UCLA and I look forward to another exciting tournament this year."
Ten-time ATP singles winner Blake, once a World No. 4 player, reached the 2007 Farmers Classic final. Malisse teamed with Bahamian Mark Knowles to defeat Somdev Devvarman and Treat Conrad Huey, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (10), in last year’s Farmers Classic doubles final.
Farmers Classic season tickets, mini-plans, group tickets and VIP experiences are also available at www.FarmersClassic.com or by calling (310) 824-1010, ext. 251. The Farmers Classic’s group entertainment program includes ticket discounts for groups of 10 or more, fundraising opportunities for organizations and reserved loge seating for select sessions in the intimate LA Tennis Center. Groups of 40 are eligible to participate in VIP experiences, which include the pre-match coin toss, High Five Kids Tunnel and Penn VIP On-Court Experience.
Farmers Classic season ticket holders typically keep coming back to soak in the event’s history and unique fan experience.
"It’s always appealing to see professional tennis players up close. That keeps me coming back to seeing tennis’ stars," said Phil Flexo, a Los Angeles resident and Farmers Classic season ticket holder since 2002. "When Juan Martin del Potro won the tournament (in 2008), that was an exciting moment. And whenever Andre Agassi would play, that was always exciting for me. I have an assortment of players that I like to see, and their style on the court. The stadium allows me to be up close to the players, not only in the actual matches but in the practice sessions. You’re almost right there on the court with them as you watch them. You’re just about a handshake away."
Fans can tap into social media channels to stay updated with the latest news and information surrounding the Farmers Classic, presented by Mercedes-Benz, by becoming a fan on Facebook (www.facebook.com/FarmersClassic), a follower on Twitter (@FarmersClassic), and to join the Farmers Classic text club text "LA" to 24973.
Volunteer Positions Available for 86th-annual Farmers Classic, July 23-29, at Los Angeles Tennis Center-UCLA
LOS ANGELES - The tradition-steeped Farmers Classic, presented by Mercedes-Benz, encourages the community to carve its own name within the history of the longest-running annual professional sporting event in Los Angeles by becoming a volunteer for the 86th-annual event, July 23-29, at the Los Angeles Tennis Center-UCLA.
The Farmers Classic, presented by Mercedes-Benz, features 28-player singles and 16-team doubles draws. Los Angeles County's only top-tier, pro tennis tournament, and an ATP World Tour stop on the Emirates Airline US Open Series, awards total prize money in excess of $1 million.
Volunteers of all ages are being sought to help in the following departments: Information/USTA Booth, Kids Day, Practice Courts, Press/Media Room, Scoreboard, Sponsor Assistance/Fast Serve Cage, Tournament Office, Transportation, Ushering, and VIP/Will-Call. Prospective volunteers are able to choose where they would like to work, while available space remains, and must commit to working a minimum of three shifts during tournament week (July 23-29).
"I can't think of a better way for one to experience the Farmers Classic from the inside than to become a volunteer and join our staff," Farmers Classic Tournament Director Bob Kramer said. "Volunteering at the tournament is a unique, memorable experience that keeps many coming back. We can't run a smooth tournament without the priceless support of our volunteers."
Simi Valley resident Larry Gee is an aerospace engineer who has worked on the International Space Station, the Space Shuttle main engines, various rocket engines being launched into space, the C-17 and other Boeing aircraft. Yet, having volunteered at the Farmers Classic (since 1996) in many different roles provided him with an outlet to experience a leisurely passion - tennis.
"Our volunteer workers are a great group of people who keep coming back year after year," Gee said. "We may see each other for only one week out of the year but it seems like a reunion of friends. We get things done, and everyone is treated with respect."
As a volunteer, brushes with tennis favorites are commonplace. Years after Michael Chang's 2000 Farmers Classic victory, Gee recalls one of his favorite stories at the event.
Said Gee: "A man walked up, with no identification, asking to be let into the players lounge to talk with some people. Michael Chang didn't have a (player's) badge that year. The security guard stopped him right away. I then said to the man, 'I'll escort you there, Michael.' I have found in my brief encounter with many of the players throughout the years that they are courteous and appreciative of the work we do."
Gee's most vivid on-court memory is watching Pete Sampras defeat Andre Agassi in the 1999 Farmers Classic final.
"It was a full-house, the crowd was enthusiastic, and both Sampras and Agassi were at their best. These are what make great tennis memories," Gee recalled. "There is nothing like seeing professional tennis players on courts up close. UCLA is a great venue - it's convenient, any seat in the stadium gives a good view, and a big bonus is always seeing stars in the stands."
Los Angeles resident Susan Adler, a librarian, has served as a volunteer each year this century and currently helps operate the tournament scoreboards. While serving as a driver, Adler recalls coming to the rescue for fiery tennis pro Justin Gimelstob when she drove him to the hospital because "he had lost a match and slammed his fist into the locker hard enough to hurt himself."
Said Adler: "The tennis is still fabulous to watch and this tournament treats their volunteers very well, which we appreciate. It's the most fun you can have at the tournament, given that I'm not good enough to play in the tournament. I recall, years ago, (Lleyton) Hewitt played. Seeing him, and it was early in his career, was fantastic."
Anaheim resident Isaac Gaulden, an IT project manager who has volunteered at the Farmers Classic each year since 2000, took up tennis as a means of exercise years ago and the sport's helped him to lose 125 pounds and reshape his health and his life.
"The people are great and the possible interaction with players and officials is fun," said Gaulden, whose most memorable moments of watching the tournament revolve around watching Agassi play. "I've mentioned that I'm a volunteer to many and I say it with pride."
Gaulden has been a driver at the tournament for 10 years because he enjoys driving the tournament vehicles and, particularly, his passengers around town.
Said Gaulden: "Marat (Safin) is probably one of the most popular players we've had at the tournament and, as you can imagine, people were always trying to meet him. When I saw him, he gave me that look like, 'Oh, brother.' By the time we got to the hotel, he was 'Chatty Cathy.'
"I remember picking (Andy Roddick) up at The W and his CD player wasn't working. He asked if he could use the car's CD player. I was surprised when "Ms. Jackson" by OutKast started playing! We then started talking about music. I was surprised that he was so much into hip-hop."
In the 2011 Farmers Classic, presented by Mercedes-Benz, Latvian Ernests Gulbis claimed his second ATP singles title by defeating three of the tournament's top six seeds, including top-seeded American Mardy Fish in the final, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4. In the doubles final, Bahamian Mark Knowles and Belgian Xavier Malisse defeated Somdev Devvarman and Treat Conrad Huey, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (10).
ABOUT THE FARMERS CLASSIC PRESENTED BY MERCEDES-BENZ
The Farmers Classic, presented by Mercedes-Benz, has been played every year since 1927, making it the longest-running annual professional sporting event in Los Angeles. Played since 1984 at the LA Tennis Center on the campus of UCLA, the tournament is part of the Emirates Airline US Open Series, the six-week summer tennis season linking 10 ATP World Tour and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour events to the US Open, culminating each week with back-to-back men's and women’s finals every Sunday afternoon. Players battle for $40 million, including a chance for bonus prize money at the US Open. Proceeds from the Farmers Classic Presented by Mercedes-Benz benefit the grassroots programs of the non-profit Southern California Tennis Association (SCTA) and UCLA. The SCTA offers programs, leagues, and tournaments involving 300,000 juniors and 50,000 adults and seniors. Information on tickets and the tournament can be found at www.FarmersClassic.com or by calling 310-824-1010.
ABOUT FARMERS INSURANCE GROUP OF COMPANIES
Farmers Insurance Group of Companies is a leading U.S. insurer of automobiles, homes and small businesses and also provides a wide range of other insurance and financial services products. Farmers Insurance is proud to serve more than 10 million households with more than 20 million individual policies across all 50 states through the efforts of over 50,000 exclusive and independent agents and nearly 24,000 employees.
Farmers is a trade name and may refer to Farmers Group, Inc. or the Farmers Exchanges, as the case may be. Farmers Group, Inc., a management and holding company, along with its subsidiaries, is wholly owned by the Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. The Farmers Exchanges are three reciprocal insurers (Farmers Insurance Exchange, Fire Insurance Exchange and Truck Insurance Exchange), including their subsidiaries and affiliates, owned by their policyholders, and managed by Farmers Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries. For more information about Farmers, visit its Web site at www.farmers.com or at www.Facebook.com/FarmersInsurance.
More at www.farmersclassic.com