The last time I went to a WTA event in San Diego was the last time a WTA event was held in San Diego – the fall of 2007. The tennis world’s relationship to gambling had just blown up after online betting site Betfair.com canceled all bets on a match between Nikolay Davydenko and Martin Vasallo-Arguello because it had all the earmarks of a fixed match.
The ATP never managed to proved match fixing because they couldn’t connect either of the players to a gambler, and the event in San Diego was canceled partially because – as I remember it – the residents of the tony La Costa Resort and Spa didn’t appreciate the intrusion of all that traffic, they had enough already with the yearly PGA golf event.
Fast forward to 2010 and now it’s Los Angeles that will lose its WTA event at the Home Depot Center only to relocate to San Diego. The Home Depot Center was an awful place for a tennis tournament by the way, more cement that you could possibly imagine and just not very much atmosphere. The media hordes were relegated to a dark underground area that let out onto a dirt field that was all dug up and grooved for the X Games motocross competition. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that Los Angeles was a Tier III event while San Diego used to be Tier I so the new event in San Diego will be smaller, though I must have been wrong about that traffic problem because once again it’s at the La Costa resort. Tier III and IV events are now referred to as International and even though it’s a lower level event, it’s still part of the U.S. Open Series that runs up to the U.S. Open and, so far, Ana Ivanovic, Dinara Safina, and Svetlana Kuznetsova have signed up.
We’ll see if they really turn up when July 31st rolls around but at least the event has a title sponsor and that’s a good thing. Mercury Insurance Group has signed up and the event will now be known as the Mercury Insurance Open. If you want to go and see a beautiful spot and see some pretty good tennis players, check out the tournament website. See you there.