commits to L.A Tournament 2001
Diamond year for tournament
Safin, the player many believe is poised to become the new dominant
player in men's tennis, will play in the 2001 Mercedes-Benz
Cup at the Los Angeles Tennis Center-UCLA.
The young Russian, who upset 13-time Grand Slam champion Pete
Sampras to win the 2000 US Open final, is the first major star
to commit to the Mercedes-Benz Cup which celebrates its 75th
extraordinary year in 2001.
Safin has enjoyed a breakthrough year, winning five titles at
Barcelona, Mallorca, Toronto and Tashkent in addition to his
US Open coup. He was also a finalist at Hamburg and Indianapolis,
compiling a 57-21 singles match record and posting earnings
of $2.1 million.
"We are extremely delighted that Marat has committed for the
2001 tournament," said LA tournament director Bob Kramer. "He
is an exciting young talent who has captured the imagination
of tennis fans throughout the world with his outstanding play
this year. His early commitment is a wonderful start to our
player field for our diamond anniversary tournament, which promises
to be something very special on next summer's sports and social
The Moscow native's meteoric rise to tennis stardom began in
1999 when he won his first ATP Tour singles title at Boston.
He also advanced to the fourth round at the French Open last
One colleague impressed by Safin's powers is Pete Sampras. "The
way he's playing, he's the future of the game," Sampras said
after Safin became the youngest Grand Slam champion since Sampras
in 1990. "He's more powerful than I was at 19. He's more developed.
He serves harder. He doesn't have many holes (in his game) and
moves well for a big (6'4") guy."
The Mercedes-Benz Cup, presented by Balance Bar, features a
32-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles competition to
be played at the Straus Stadium of the Los Angeles Tennis Center-UCLA.
The landmark Southern California tournament is an International
Series event on the worldwide ATP Tour and offers total player
compensation in excess of $1 million.
Previous winners of the Mercedes-Benz Cup, whose history dates
back to 1927, include this year's winner Michael Chang as well
as Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Michael Stich, Boris
Becker, Richard Krajicek, Stefan Edberg, John McEnroe, Jimmy
Connors, Arther Ashe, Rod Laver, Pancho Gonzalez, Jack Kramer
and Don Budge.