LA tourney sold - what a shame.
What a pity to have a hardcourt tournament replaced by clay.
The decline of tennis in the US from the heady days of the 1980s is also alarming.
The 86-year-old ATP tournament in Los Angeles is in the process of being sold to a group for Bogota, Colombia, TENNIS.com has confirmed.
The NY Times' Chris Clarey and USA Today's Doug Robson first reported the story.
Owned by the Southern California Tennis Association, the event claims to have lost money for the past four years. The tournament, which was held at UCLA and called the Farmers Classic for the past three years, was unable to sign its two major sponsors for 2013. In the last two years, the ATP 250-level tournament tried to attract fans without paying appearance fees to star players, but was unsuccessful in doing so.
Like the recently sold ATP tournament in San Jose, California, the L.A. tournament struggled after the retirement of popular U.S. stars Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, and Michael Chang. The tournament was unable to consistently recruit 2003 U.S. Open champion Andy Roddick and was never able to convince the sportís two biggest draws, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, to come to the U.S. so soon after Wimbledon. The event has been played in late July.
The USTA has no current plans to try and replace the event. Next year, it is scheduled to be played the week of July 22, alongside European clay-court events in Umag and Gstaad. It is scheduled in between U.S. Open Series tournaments in Atlanta and Washington, DC. It is possible that the Bogota group is simply buying the tournament sanction, and will look for another place on the calendar to hold the event, possibly in February when the other Latin American tournaments take place.
Los Angelesí demise will mean that California, which once hosted four ATP tournaments annually, will be down to one: Indian Wells, a combined menís and womenís tournament held in March. In 1980, there were 36 ATP tournaments played in the U.S. Next year, there will only be 13. In 2014, unless a new tournament comes in, there will only be 12, as San Jose will move to Brazil.