Jimmy Connors, the 1976 Washington Star International tennis champion who withdrew from last years tournament, leads the field in the annual $175,000 tournament which moves into high gear tomorrow at the Washington Tennis Stadium.
Connors was on vacation in an undisclosed site last week licking his wounds from a 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 whipping at the hands of Bjorn Borg at Wimbeldon. Borg will not be playing here.
But in order for the top-seeded Connors to win the $24,000 first prize, he will have to overcome a host of highly ranked professionals.
The other top seeds, in order, are Brian Gottfried, Eddie Dibbs, Raul Ramirez, Manuel Orantes, Harold Solomon, Dick Stockton and Wojtek Fibak.
Besides Connors, past Star winners in the tournament include 1971 champion Ken Rosewell. Arthur Ashe, the 1973 winner, and the 1974 champ, Solomon.
Tomorrow night's competition will begin at 7 with John Yuill going against Stockton. Immediately following the first match. Connors faces John Marks, who recently defeated Stockton in the first round at Wimbeldon.
Tuesday evenings will have Orantes challenging Christophe Freyss followed by Rosewall against John James a finalist today in a tournament at Newport, R.L.
An added feature to the evening, according to John Harris tournament chairman will be "The Tennis Patrons Foundation honoring Rosewall and making it 'Ken Rosewall Night' at the stadium."
Other first-round pairing (times not yet determined) pit Ramirez against Billy Martin, Gottfried against Fred McNair and Solomon against Ismail el Shafei.
Connors will be entering the tournament after a see-saw year. He opened the season winning the Masters, Jan. 8 in New York over Borg. Borg evened the score on Jan. 15 in the Pepsi Grand Slam.
Connors lost in the second round in the Alan King Open to 30th-ranked Hank Pfister in April. Then Connors, 1974 Wimbeldon champ, suffered both from mononucleosis and another loss to Borg, 6-1, 6-1, in Tokyo.
Two "dark-horse" players in the competition are Spain's Joe Jose Higueras, 25, and Chile's Hans Gildemeister. Both have done well lately on clay courts.
Higueras has represented Spain in the Davis Cup for the past-three years.
Guildemeister, 21, is ranked 30th in the world. He represented Chile in the Davis Cup in 1974 and 1976. Formerly a student at the University of Southern California, he was twice ranked in the world's top five as a junior.
The hometown favorite will be former Silver Spring student Solomon, 25, ranked 12th in the world. While most of the other seeded players have been active the past few weeks, Solomon and Dibbs have been resting in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for the clay court tournament.
Another player to watch is 16-year-old John McEnroe, who did not fare well at Wimbledon but could be a factor here.