Icy Hot/ITA Men's All-American Championship Set For This Weekend
By ODU Athletics
Sept. 29, 2004
CHATTANOOGA, Tn. -Ninth ranked Izak van der Merwe (Kempton Park, South Africa), junior Adriano Mello (Londrina, Brazil), and sophomores Henrique Cancado (Bello Horizonte, Brazil) and Nate Grover (Suffolk, Va,) will be among the participants at the Icy Hot/ITA Men's All-American Championship in Chattanooga this weekend. The tournament is not only the largest single tournament of this season in collegiate tennis, with over 300 competitors, but also the first of three national championship events at the Division I level during the 2004-05 collegiate tennis season.
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 women's counterpart to the Icy Hot/ITA Men's All-American Championships, the Riviera Women's All-American Championships, is played in Pacific Palisades, Calif.).
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 as title sponsor. 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) and Mike Bryan, Alex Kim, Jeff Morrison and Brian Vahaly ('99 finalist). Washington's Alex Vlaski topped Baylor's 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 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 300 players, making it the largest collegiate event of the season. A player who begins in pre-qualifying stage may have to win up to seven matches just to reach the main draw! But keep an eye on those pre-qualifiers - UCLA's Vince Allegre went through pre-qualifying and qualifying, then went on to win five more matches to reach the final; Baylor's Benedikt Dorsch did the same in 2002 and reached the semifinals.
Van der Merwe will be one of the 64 main draw singles participants, while him and his doubles partner, Nate Grover, will attempt to make the main draw from the qualifying bracket. Grover, Mello, and Cancado will be playing in the pre-qualifying singles draw while Mello and Canacado will team up in the pre-qualifying doubles bracket.
For more information, log onto www.itatennis.com.