LOS ANGELES, August 5 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — With the addition of World No. 12 Fernando Verdasco, the Countrywide Classic is poised to start on Monday with nine of the Top 50 ATP players participating. Verdasco of Spain was given one of the three wild cards into the 82nd annual Countrywide Classic that will be held Aug. 4-10 on the campus of UCLA.
Verdasco joins the 28-player tournament field that includes three Grand Slam champions and former World No. 1s: Andy Roddick (currently No. 6), Marat Safin (No. 38), and Carlos Moya (No. 41). Joining this group are two-time Countrywide Classic champion Tommy Haas (No. 42), 2008 Wimbledon quarterfinalist Feliciano Lopez (No. 27), upstart Argentine Juan Martin del Potro (No. 25), who has won two titles since Wimbledon, and American Mardy Fish (No. 40), a silver medalist in the 2004 Olympic Games.
A second wild card will be determined on Friday at Straus Stadium when the “Wild Card Shootout” takes place. The double elimination match tie-break tournament was won in 2007 by Zach Fleishman, who took advantage of the wild card to upset top seed Fernando Gonzalez in the opening round of the main draw on the way to the quarterfinals.
Jimmy Arias, a quarterfinalist in 1985, has joined the field for the Legends Event at the 2008 Countrywide Classic, replacing Mats Wilander. Arias will play 1988 Countrywide Classic Champion Mikael Pernfors on Wednesday, while 1989 Champion Aaron Krickstein will play 2003 Champion Wayne Ferreira in the other quarterfinal. The winners of those matches will then face former World No. 1s and Grand Slam champions John McEnroe and Jim Courier in Thursday’s semifinals. The final will be played on Friday.
On Tuesday night, a special ceremony will be held to recognize the 2008 Tournament Honoree Roy Emerson. A record-tying four-time singles champion of the Countrywide Classic, and a five-time doubles winner, Emerson held the record for most Grand Slam Championships won with 12 until Pete Sampras moved past him earlier this decade. Roger Federer tied Emerson for second place on that list last year. Emerson, a native of Australia, is a longtime resident of Southern California.
The 2007 Davis Cup victory by the United States will be recognized on Wednesday evening with a special stadium court celebration that will include the Davis Cup trophy.
All weekday sessions will start at noon, and the evening sessions at 7:30 p.m., with the exception of Friday when the night session begins at 8 p.m. The semifinal sessions on Saturday, Aug. 9 begin at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The finals on Sunday, Aug. 10 will start at 2 p.m.
For Countrywide Classic Season and Mini Plan Ticket Information please call 310.824.1010 x251. For Single Session Ticket Information please call 310.825.2101. All ticket information can also be found on www.countrywideclassic.com .
ABOUT THE COUNTRYWIDE CLASSIC
The Countrywide Classic has been played every year since 1927, making it the longest-running annual professional sporting event in Los Angeles. The 2008 event will be held Aug. 4-10 and will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the tournament’s move to UCLA’s campus. The tournament is part of the Olympus US Open Series, the six-week summer tennis season linking 10 ATP and Sony Ericsson WTA Tour events to the US Open. Proceeds from the Countrywide Classic 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. For more information please visit www.countrywideclassic.com or call 310-824-1010.
ABOUT COUNTRYWIDE FINANCIAL CORPORATION
Founded in 1969, Countrywide Financial Corporation (NYSE: CFC) — America’s #1 home loan lender as ranked for 2005 by Inside Mortgage Finance (Jan. 27, 2006), Copyright 2006 — is a member of the S&P 500 and Fortune 500. Countrywide, through its subsidiaries, provides mortgage banking and diversified financial services in domestic and international markets. Mortgage banking businesses include loan production and servicing principally through Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., which originates, purchases, securitizes, sells, and services residential loans. The company is headquartered in Calabasas, California and has a workforce of more than 55,000 individuals and over 800 offices worldwide. For more information about the company, visit Countrywide’s Web site at http://www.countrywide.com .