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Americans headline draw at Farmers Classic

LOS ANGELES — The draw at the Farmers Classic, presented by Mercedes-Benz, presents an opportunity for a bevy of Americans to seek in the championship spotlight at different stages of their careers.

Two-time Farmers Classic champion and Southern California native Sam Querrey, fellow American James Blake, budding young American stars Steve Johnson and Jack Sock, 2012 Wimbledon upstart Brian Baker, France’s Nicolas Mahut, Belgium’s Xavier Malisse, the tournament’s reigning doubles champion, and current Wimbledon doubles champion Jonathan Marray are among the leading players entered in the Farmers Classic, July 23-29, at the Los Angeles Tennis Center-UCLA.

The 86th-annual Farmers Classic, presented by Mercedes-Benz, features a 28-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles competition. Los Angeles County’s only top-tier pro tennis event, and an ATP World Tour stop on the Emirates Airline US Open Series, awards total prize money of $600,000.

Daily tickets for the Farmers Classic — the longest-running annual pro sporting event in Los Angeles — are available at FarmersClassic.com, Ticketmaster, or by calling (310) 825-2101. Proceeds from the Farmers Classic, held in conjunction with UCLA, benefit the grassroots programs of the non-profit Southern California Tennis Association (SCTA) and UCLA. In 2011, the tournament and associated special events raised more than $200,000 for the SCTA, the Grammy Foundation and other charities.

Querrey, owner of six ATP singles titles, is looking for a rebirth of the star which was born in LA when he won the Farmers Classic in 2009 and 2010. The 24-year-old, who was the tournament’s last repeat singles champion since Andre Agassi in 2002 and the event’s fourth back-to-back champ in the Open Era, played the second-longest match in Wimbledon history (five hours, 31 minutes) a few weeks ago.

“I’m excited about returning and playing at the Farmers Classic, especially in front of the enthusiastic LA tennis fans at my hometown event,” said Querrey, who grew up in Thousand Oaks and resided in Santa Monica the first several years of his career. “The crowds are always great at UCLA and I look forward to another exciting tournament this year.”

A Farmers Classic title would constitute a career renaissance for 10-time ATP singles winner Blake, who reached the 2007 Farmers Classic final and climbed as high as No. 4 in the world. Blake’s last ATP title was while partnering with Querrey in doubles earlier this year at the U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship in Houston.

Farmers Classic wild cards were issued to Johnson, Baker and Sock. Baker and Sock are making their Farmers Classic debuts. Seeded players for the tournament are 1) Benoit Paire; 2) Querrey; 3) Leonardo Mayer; 4) Mahut; 5) Malisse; 6) Marinko Matosevic; 7) Bjorn Phau; 8) Baker. The top four seeds earn first-round byes. Four qualifiers will be determined on Monday to complete the draw.

“The draw for the Farmers Classic is strong and will not disappoint fans,” said Chuck Browning, Head of Sponsorships for Farmers Insurance. “We are proud to be part of this wonderful tournament which adds such richness to Los Angeles, a community we have called home for more than 80 years.”

Orange, Calif. native Johnson, 22, began his pro career this summer after graduating from USC and ending his college career as the most decorated player in NCAA men’s tennis history. He won his last 72 competitive matches, the NCAA Division I Individual Championship as a junior and senior, and became the first NCAA individual champion to win four consecutive NCAA team titles. Johnson is making his third consecutive appearance in the Farmers Classic’s main draw.

Baker, 27, has been a late-bloomer who has sky-rocketed up the rankings while enjoying his career year thus far on the ATP World Tour. He reached his first ATP final in Nice as a qualifier and advanced to the round of 16 at Wimbledon as a qualifier.

Sock, a 19-year-old Nebraskan, turned professional in 2011 after winning 18 USTA National titles as a junior and teamed with Melanie Oudin to win last year’s U.S. Open mixed doubles title at 18. He advanced to his first ATP World Tour quarterfinal last week in Atlanta.

Among the foreign competitors in the Farmers Classic, top-seeded Frenchman Paire made his first ATP World Tour final at the 2012 Serbia Open in Belgrade and reached the third round at Wimbledon. Malisse, a three-time singles winner and seven-time doubles winner on the ATP World Tour, teamed with Mark Knowles to defeat Somdev Devvarman and Treat Conrad Huey, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (10), in last year’s Farmers Classic doubles final. Mahut owns five ATP doubles titles, including championships in Marseille and Montpellier this year. Russian Igor Andreev is a three-time ATP singles champion.

American Scott Lipsky, a seven-time ATP doubles champion, and Mexico’s Santiago Gonzalez are the top-seeded team in the doubles draw. Marray, who capitalized on a wildcard entry and became the first British doubles winner at Wimbledon since 1936, teams with Aussie Colin Ebelthite as the No. 2 seed. Querrey and Johnson will play in doubles together as a wild card, as will recent UCLA teammates Nicolas Meister and Marcos Giron.

Farmers Classic season tickets, mini-plans, group tickets and VIP experiences are also available at FarmersClassic.com or by calling (310) 824-1010, ext. 251. The Farmers Classic’s group entertainment program includes ticket discounts for groups of 10 or more, fundraising opportunities for organizations and reserved loge seating for select sessions in the intimate LA Tennis Center. Groups of 40 are eligible to participate in VIP experiences, which include the pre-match coin toss, High Five Kids Tunnel and Penn VIP On-Court Experience.

In addition to visiting the tournament’s official website, FarmersClassic.com, fans can tap into social media channels to stay updated with the latest news and information surrounding the Farmers Classic, presented by Mercedes-Benz, by becoming a fan on Facebook (facebook.com/FarmersClassic), a follower on Twitter (@FarmersClassic), and in joining the LA Text Club by texting “LA” to 25973 (message and data rates may apply).

ABOUT THE FARMERS CLASSIC PRESENTED BY MERCEDES-BENZ

The Farmers Classic, presented by Mercedes-Benz, has been played every year since 1927, making it the longest-running annual professional sporting event in Los Angeles. Played since 1984 at the LA Tennis Center on the campus of UCLA, the tournament is part of the Emirates Airline US Open Series, the six-week summer tennis season linking 10 ATP World Tour and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour events to the US Open, culminating each week with back-to-back men’s and women’s finals every Sunday afternoon. Players battle for $40 million, including a chance for bonus prize money at the US Open. Proceeds from the Farmers Classic Presented by Mercedes-Benz benefit the grassroots programs of the non-profit Southern California Tennis Association (SCTA) and UCLA. The SCTA offers programs, leagues, and tournaments involving 300,000 juniors and 50,000 adults and seniors. Information on tickets and the tournament can be found at farmersclassic.com or by calling 310-824-1010.

ABOUT FARMERS INSURANCE GROUP OF COMPANIES

Farmers Insurance Group of Companies is a leading U.S. insurer of automobiles, homes and small businesses and also provides a wide range of other insurance and financial services products. Farmers Insurance is proud to serve more than 10 million households with more than 20 million individual policies across all 50 states through the efforts of over 50,000 exclusive and independent agents and nearly 24,000 employees.

Farmers is a trade name and may refer to Farmers Group, Inc. or the Farmers Exchanges, as the case may be. Farmers Group, Inc., a management and holding company, along with its subsidiaries, is wholly owned by the Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. The Farmers Exchanges are three reciprocal insurers (Farmers Insurance Exchange, Fire Insurance Exchange and Truck Insurance Exchange), including their subsidiaries and affiliates, owned by their policyholders, and managed by Farmers Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries. For more information about Farmers, visit its Web site at farmers.com or at Facebook.com/FarmersInsurance.

 

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