Donald Dell, cochairman of the Washington Star International tennis tournament; said he is very optimistic that another sponsor can be found for the $200,000 tourney, one of 32 "Super Series" events of the Volvo Grand Prix.
The Star, which has sponsored the tournament all 13 years, is scheduled to cease publication Aug. 7.
Dell said yesterday he had had "three or four phone calls from potential sponsors, local businesses with national outlets." He declined to name them until he speaks today with George Hoyt, publisher of the Star.
"We've got an obligation to talk with the Star first," Dell said. "Of course, we've been busy this week, and they've been busy. But as a courtsey we'll hold off on talks with potential sponsors."
The Star has provided about 80 percent of the purse money each year. This year's purse is up from last year's $175,000 and next year's is expected to be $250,000.
"This tournament has its established week on the professional tour," said John Harris, the tournament's other cochairman. "It's a fixture on the international circuit and the Washington sports scene. "This year we brought in nine of the top 15 players, and television tapes go to 10 foreign countries."
The Star has not profited monetarily from its sponsorship, Dell said. All of the nearly $1.3 million gained so far has gone to the Washington Area Tennis Patrons Foundation.
The net profits, according to Dell, have been abut $100,000 the last few years, and have been used for the foundation's 35-team junior players program and construction of the Rock Creek Tennis Stadium complex.
"Our first year (1969) we started with 900 seats and $15,000 from the Star," Dell said. "Now, we've got 5,800 seats. Ultimately, we'd like to have indoor courts -- that's always been on the foundation's drawing board."