Icy Hot/ITA Men's All-American Championships returns to Chattanooga

September 22, 2004 06:02 PM

The 2004 Icy Hot/ITA Men's All-American Championships will be taking place at the Champions Club October 1-10. The Icy Hot/ITA Men's All-American Championship is not only the largest single tournament in collegiate tennis, with over 350 competitors, but also the first of three national championship events during the 2004-05 season at the NCAA Division I level.

The showcase dates for this year's tournament are Oct. 7-10, which will feature the nation's top collegiate men's players (qualifying tournaments take place Oct. 1-6). The Icy Hot/ITA Men's All-American Championships offer the first national singles and doubles titles of the season, and are followed by the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships in November and the third event is the season-ending NCAA Championships in May.

The top eight seeds in singles for the Oct. 7-10 main draw are (in order): Catalin Gard of Mississippi, Sam Warburg of Stanford, Jesse Witten of Kentucky, Hamid Mirzadeh of Florida, Doug Stewart of Virginia, Gabor Zoltan Pelva of Auburn, Franticek Babej of South Alabama, and Pedro Rico of Pepperdine. Auburn's Pelva and South Alabama's Babej both reached the semifinals at last May's NCAA Championships. Stanford's Warburg and KC Corkery are the defending NCAA doubles champions and will be the top seeds in doubles.

All told, 47 of the top 50 players in the preseason ITA singles rankings are competing in this year's main draw.

This year's event will be hosted at the Champions Club for the third straight year and sponsored by Chattem, Inc., a Chattanooga pharmaceutical firm which has chosen Icy Hot to be title sponsor. The Greater Chattanooga Sports and Events Committee brought the tournament to the city in 2002 and it is one the numerous events it hosts throughout the year.

The Icy Hot/ITA Men's All-American Championships include 192-singles player and 96-doubles team prequalifying tournaments played October 1-3 which feed into 128-player and 64-doubles team qualifying tournaments October 4-6. The 64-player, 32-doubles team main draw takes place Oct. 7-10. The singles tournament fields can run over 350 players, making it the largest collegiate event of the season. A player who begins in prequalifying may have to win up to seven matches just to reach the main draw. Over 70 schools from across the country will be sending players to compete. Among the Tennessee schools competing will be: East Tennessee State, Tennessee, Tennessee Tech, UT-Chattanooga and Vanderbilt.

This event has been played annually since 1979. A number of its past participants have enjoyed successful professional tennis careers, including 1999 U.S. Open finalist Todd Martin, formerly of Northwestern, and current pros like James Blake ('98 champ), Bob ('97 champ) and Mike Bryan, Alex Kim, Jeff Morrison and Brian Vahaly ('99 finalist). Washington's Alex Vlaski topped Baylor's Benedikt Dorsch in last year's singles final and Texas A&M's Lester Cook and Ante Matijevic beat Rice's Richard and William Barker in the doubles final.

The Champions Club is located at 3400 Lupton Drive in Chattanooga (in Riverfront Park). Ticket are available at the gate.

Complete information on this year's tournament can be found of the official website for the ITA, www.itatennis.