Unfortunately, tennis in California is slowly finding it’s way to the grave.
Professional tennis in California dwindling
Of the three professional tennis tournaments in California, only one is left standing. I just heard through the wire today that the LA Tennis Open – also known as the Farmers Classic, Countrywide Classic, Mercedes-Benz Cup, and Infinity Open – has been bought from the SCTA. A group from Bogota, Colombia is currently in the process of buying the tournament from the Southern California Tennis Association. Currently, the USTA has no plans to replace the event that is part of the US Open Series.
The tournament is still scheduled to be played next year, in late July. Which will be in a crummy spot in 2013 as it will be scheduled the same week as Umag and Gstaad tournaments. Yet another opportunity for big names to not come to the west for tennis in California.
Unfortunately, these smaller tournaments do not draw the bigger names like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, or Andy Murray as often as I would like. I have heard rumors of some very large appearance fees being offered to the big name players, though these attempts failed.
The tennis tournament in San Jose, CA will be moving to Brazil in 2014 which means the total tournaments played on US soil in 2014 will be 12 (unless another ATP level tournament is born), a far cry from the 36 that were held in 1980.
Thankfully there is still the Masters 1000 tournament in Indian Wells, which draws big names and includes the WTA.
Tennis in California or the bigger picture?
Is it just the beginning of a dying sport in California or is it bigger than that? I think that overall, the tennis in the USA is being threatened by the pure dominance from the European nations (Eastern European included!). With Andy Roddick retiring at the end of the 2012 US Open, I feel that it could have been another nail in the coffin of American tennis. I can’t say that the USTA is producing a full lineup of major contenders; though that’s an entirely different post.