American Teenagers Also Added to Field for April Tournament
HOUSTON – Two former champions and a pair of American teenagers have committed to play the Fayez Sarofim & Co. U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship at River Oaks Country Club in April.
Two-time winner and defending champion Juan Monaco and 2014 victor Fernando Verdasco have committed to play this April. The tournament has also added American up-and-comers Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe to the field.
These three players join the previously announced commitments of 2013 champion John Isner, as well as Felicano Lopez, Steve Johnson and Sam Querrey. In addition, six-time doubles champions Bob and Mike Bryan will play the April 10-16 tournament.
“Juan and Fernando quickly became fan favorites during their title runs, and help further strengthen our player field,” said Tournament Director Bronwyn Greer. “We also look forward to welcoming Taylor and Frances. We are eager to see firsthand these members of the ATP’s ‘Next Gen’ for a chance to peer into the future.”
Monaco has won the US Clay Court title in 2016 and 2012 after reaching the River Oaks International final in 2006. He owns nine career titles, and in 2016, he played in the quarterfinal tie during Argentina’s run to the Davis Cup title. Monaco is in the top five among active players for career clay court wins with a 236-140 record on the surface. It will be his seventh US Clay appearance.
Verdasco has won seven career ATP titles, including his 2014 triumph at River Oaks. Fourteen of the 21 finals he’s played in his career have come at clay court tournaments. He opened his 2017 season reaching the semifinals in Doha, where he lost in three sets to eventual champion Novak Djokovic. They are slated for a rematch in the first round of the Australian Open. Verdasco will be making his fifth appearance at River Oaks.
Fritz is a 19-year-old Californian. In 2016, he was the youngest player to finish in the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings. Last February, he reached the final at the Memphis Open, his third ATP event. He was the youngest American to reach an ATP final since Michael Chang reached the Wembley final in 1989. He was the 2015 ITF Junior World Champion after holding the No. 1 junior ranking for the second half of that season, which included a US Open junior title.
Tiafoe turns 19-years-old later this month. He was born in Maryland and began playing at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park where his father was head of maintenance. He broke into the Top 100 in October after winning his second Challenger title of the season. In 2015, he was the USTA Boys’ 18s National Champion.
The entry list of singles contestants for the 28-player field will be released at the beginning of March, with additional players being added as wild cards and through a two-round qualifying tournament. The doubles field will be announced in late March.
Tickets remain available for the 2017 tournament. More information can be found at www.mensclaycourt.com.