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Delray Beach ITC to test new ATP round robin format

October 30, 2006 10:12 AM

The Delray Beach International Tennis Championships is one of 13 ATP tournaments worldwide and five in the United States that has been chosen to test a new singles round robin format for the 2007 tennis season. Delray Beach will be the first tournament in North America to test one of the three new formats as it opens the U.S. tennis season Sunday, Jan. 28 – Sunday, Feb. 4 at the Delray Beach Stadium & Tennis Center.

Adelaide, Buenos Aires, London, Stockholm and Las Vegas are among other pilot cities.

The Delray Beach ITC, celebrating its 15th year in 2007, has been awarded a 32-player round robin draw that will bring a new element of excitement to players and fans as the tournament continues to grow into one of the top professional sporting events in South Florida.

"This is a great day for tennis," said Delray Beach ITC tournament director Mark Baron. "It's exciting for Delray Beach to open the 2007 tennis season in the United States by rolling out this new round robin format. We have been discussing creative ways to make our sport even more exciting and this format delivers a chance to test some of those ideas.”

The new Delray Beach format will extend the tournament to eight days—and from 11 to 13 sessions—beginning Sunday with a 16-player “playoff.” The eight winners will join 16 other players to make up a 24-player round robin consisting of 8 groups of 3 players with play beginning Monday. Each player plays two guaranteed matches in the round robin stage, and the winner from each group will advance to the quarterfinals, starting Friday.

"The round-robin trials in 2007 will be very exciting for the ATP and its tournaments," said Mark Young, ATP Americas CEO. "It is great for the ATP that Delray Beach will open the tournament season in North America with a trial of the round-robin format. This system will ensure each player gets at least two matches in a particular city, and will allow for more scheduling to be done in advance. We've enjoyed success with this format at Tennis Masters Cup, and we look forward to seeing it in practice at other ATP events during 2007."

The Delray Beach ITC has already signed two of the Top 15 players in the world to play—No. 9 James Blake and No. 13 Tommy Haas—and Baron said that the big winners are the fans who will have the opportunity to see more of the marquee players.

“We know that Blake & Haas are going to play at least two matches in Delray Beach,” Baron said. “That’s a win-win situation for our fans. Getting those players in front of our fans several times is the benefit.”

The round-robin portion of the event will be played Monday through Thursday (Jan. 30 - Feb. 1), and Baron sees this competition as the “nail-biting” part. “It will be exciting to follow as players jockey for positions into the quarterfinals," he said. “Now it’s not just a matter of winning the match, but every game is important.”

The change in format also affects the Delray Beach qualifying tournament, which now changes from a 32-player draw to a 16-player draw. It is still scheduled to start Saturday, Jan. 27.

All Delray Beach doubles competition remains the same.

Ticket packages for the 2007 tournament can be purchased by calling 561-330-6000 or on-line at www.YellowTennisBall.com. The Reserved Series package for all tournament sessions is $250 while the Weekender package—including the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals—is only $200. Box series packages range from $980 for two seats to $2,200 for four seats and include premier parking passes.

Single session tickets are scheduled to go on sale Dec. 1 to the general public. For more information on the tournament and its ancillary events, visit www.YellowTennisBall.com.


Delray Beach ITC ticket discounts for USTA members






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