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Big Tennis Events Hit Madison & Chicago in Feb: USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championship.

January 9, 2005 12:14 AM

USTA Membership pays:  Get a 60% discount on Madison tournament admission with your USTA membership card.

USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championships hit Midwest in February

Sixteen of the nation's top men's and women's collegiate tennis teams will be competing in Madison, Wis. and Chicago, respectively, next month. The U.S. Tennis Association/Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Women's Team Indoor Championships, hosted by the University of Wisconsin at the A.C. Nielsen Tennis Stadium, take place Feb. 3-6 in Madison. The USTA/ITA National Men's Team Indoor Championships take place Feb. 17-20 at the Mid Town Tennis Club in Chicago.

The USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championships are collegiate tennis' premier indoor team tournaments. The men's tournament began in 1973 and the women's in 1988. Each season these tournaments also offer a preview of the teams to beat at the May NCAA Championships. This is the 18th straight year the women's tournament is being hosted by Wisconsin and the first time the event is being played in Chicago. Joining the host Badgers next month in Madison for the women's championships will be: Clemson, Duke, Georgia, Harvard, Kentucky, Miami (Fla.), New Mexico, North Carolina, Northwestern, Southern California, Stanford, Tulane, UCLA, Vanderbilt, and Washington. Joining Illinois next month in Chicago will be: Baylor, Duke, Florida, Georgia, Harvard, Kentucky, LSU, Mississippi, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Southern California, Stanford, UCLA and Virginia (one more team will be added in three weeks).

Defending women's champion Stanford has won a record seven USTA/ITA women's titles and reached the final 12 times. The Cardinal will again be led by junior Amber Liu, who is looking to become the first woman to ever win three NCAA singles titles this season. Three of last year's four USTA/ITA semifinalists will be back in Madison this year - Stanford, finalist Georgia and Washington. Also on hand will be all four of the semifinalists from last May's season-ending NCAA Championships - champion Stanford, finalist UCLA, Clemson and Vanderbilt.

Host Illinois will be looking for its third straight USTA/ITA men's title this year. Prior to the Fighting Illini winning the '03 and '04 tourney victories, four different Pac-10 schools (Stanford, UCLA, California and Southern California) had won the tournament every year since 1987. Stanford, which is the only school to win three straight, has won a record 12 titles. Last year's championship made Illinois only the fifth school to win consecutive USTA/ITA titles. All four of last year's USTA/ITA semifinalists are back: champ Illinois, finalist UCLA, Mississippi and Stanford. All four of last May's NCAA semifinalists are also back, led by champ Baylor, finalist UCLA, Southern California and Illinois.

The USTA/ITA men's event began in 1973 and is the ITA?s longest-running event. In its formative years it was held in Madison, Wis., and was staged as an eight-team national invitational tournament, but not all of the top teams initially chose to participate. It was in Madison where John McEnroe helped Stanford to the 1978 title. After Madison, and one year in Princeton, the tournament was actually held outdoors at UCLA for three years before beginning its stint in Louisville, Ky., from 1985-98. Louisville also hosted in 2000, ?02-03. Washington first hosted in 1999 and again in 2001 and '04. Tournament information can be accessed at www.itatennis.com, www.uwbadgers.com (women) and www.fightingillini.com (men).

Ticket Information:

* Men's Tournament
Can be purchased at the gate or through the Illinois Athletic Ticket Office at 217-333-3470 or online at www.fightingillini.com. Ticket prices are as follows:
Singles Day:
  Public $5.00
  Students $3.00
  Group (20 ) $3.00
  All Session:
  Public - $15.00
  Student - $10.00

* Women's Tournament
Can be purchased at the gate
Single Day:
  Adult: $5
  Youth/Sr.Cit/Student: $2
  USTA Member w/ card: $2
  Adult: $10
  Youth/Sr.Cit/Student: $4
  USTA Member w/ card: $4.
  (Admission is free on Thursday, Feb. 3)