san diego tourney says goodbye to tier I status

We’ve heard a lot of hemming and hawing about Monte Carlo and Hamburg losing their Masters Series designations, so here’s a post about the little women:

As a part of the SEWTA’s Road Map 2010, the Acura Classic will lose its Tier I status. And its promoters, Raquel Giscafre and Jane Stratton, are closing up shop instead of fighting the SEWTA’s decision.

(Another unfortunate victim of this change is the USTA, whose U.S. Open Series — an excellent marketing campaign for the summer hard court North American tournaments that has gained traction in the last few years [save for the confusing points race] — will have to be retooled.)

steffi grafThe San Diego Union-Tribune did a story on the duo, who built this tournament into a must-stop for the elite female players. Steffi Graf (right) won here 4 times, Venus Williams thrice, and Martina Hingis and Lindsay Davenport each racked up two trophies. This tournament also has the distinction of being the last one Graf played as a pro; she retired during her second round match against Amy Frazier in 1999.

amanda coetzer On a personal note: This is the first pro event I ever attended, in 1997. I still remember making the drive to the La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad (the host venue). I saw Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario play Sandrine Testud and Monica Seles beat Ai Sugiyama. I even stood in line to get Amanda Coetzer‘s autograph (left).

I’ll be sad to see it go.

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