MACON, Georgia - 64 women tennis players from all over the world will take to the courts Sunday morning at the Jaime Kaplan Tennis Center at Stratford Academy, for the qualifying draw of the ButlerCars.com Tennis Classic of Macon, presented by the W.L. Amos Foundation- all looking for one of eight remaining spots in the singles main draw.
Players must win three matches to earn one of the coveted spots in the main draw which begins on Tuesday.
"Qualifying matches are typically some of the most competitive matches you will see all week," explains Eric Hayes, tournament director and men's and women's tennis coach at Mercer University. "It's a mix, some of the qualifying draw players are from the area, some are from the other side of the world."
Competitors competing in the qualifying draw include former University of Florida All-American Lauren Embree, Di Zhao of China, former UCLA standout Elizabeth Lumpkin, and a pair of former University of Tennessee products in Caitlin Whoriskey and Natalie Pluskota. Pluskota is from Sharpsburg, Georgia.
"We have an entire week of activities planned, and the qualifying draw just kicks everything off," added Hayes.
Tickets will be available at the gate at Stratford Academy.
This 25K event is mix of rising and established players looking to earn points to finish the year strongly, and in some cases, earn direct acceptance into the 2014 Australian Open.
*Tournament Fast Facts
Tournament top seed Ajla Tomljanovic is the highest ranked player in the field (No. 85)
There are players from 24 countries represented in the BulterCars.com Tennis Classic of Macon
American Nicole Gibbs (Stanford) is the current NCAA singles champion
Coco Vandeweghe is the niece of former NBA great Kiki Vandeweghe
Vandeweghe reached the finals of the WTA Tour's Bank of the West Classic in 2012 before losing to Serena Williams
Alexandra Stevenson reached the semifinals of Wimbledon in 1999. She is also the daughter of NBA Hall of Famer member Julius Erving.
The singles winner on "Finals Sunday"(Oct 13) will receive a check in the amout of $3,919.00 and 50 WTA ranking points.
About the USTA Pro Circuit
With approximately 90 tournaments hosted annually throughout the country and prize money ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, the USTA Pro Circuit is the pathway to the US Open and tour-level competition for aspiring tennis players and a frequent battleground for established professionals. The USTA launched its Pro Circuit 33 years ago to provide players with the opportunity to gain professional ranking points, and it has since grown to become the largest developmental tennis circuit in the world, offering nearly $3 million in prize money. Last year, more than 1,000 men and women from more than 70 countries competed
in cities nationwide. Mardy Fish, Maria Sharapova, Andy Roddick, Caroline Wozniacki, John Isner, Li Na and Andy Murray are among today's top stars who began their careers on the USTA Pro Circuit.