Spectators at the D.C. National Bank Tennis Classic have the luck of the draw to thank for the matchup of two premier clay-court specialists, Harold Solomon and seventh-seeded Eddie Dibbs, in first-round action tonight.
In addition, those who make their way to Rock Creek Stadium's main court tonight will see fifth-seeded Andres Gomez of Ecuador take on Victor Pecci of Paraguay. In all, 15 singles matches will get under way today beginning at noon.
Other seeds in action today are Peru's Pablo Arraya (10), Australia's Paul McNamee (12) and Tim Wilkison of Shelby, N.C. (14).
Of local interest, Jim Delaney of Potomac meets Juan Avendano of Spain at 1:30 p.m.
Qualifying rounds were concluded yesterday and it proved to be a good day for Coach Steve Stefanki's Junior Davis Cup team. NCAA champion Mike Leach, just out of Michigan and in his first year on the USTA-sponsored squad, struggled somewhat, but defeated Spain's Juan Aguilera, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.
Matt Anger, another member of the team, had a decidedly easier time in beating Jeff Papell, 6-4, 6-3.
The Junior Davis Cup team includes eight amateur players selected each summer to compete individually in professional tournaments. The USTA pays all of the players' expenses for 12 weeks, giving amateurs the chance to build up ATP points--the basis for automatic entrance into a tournament--for the day they do turn pro.
According to Stefanki, Junior Davis Cup can be an incentive for those talented players who want to stay in school instead of turning pro. The program also gives the players the experience of being out there "every day, week in and week out," said Stefanki.
Stefanki also is able to get his players into tournaments as wild cards, which means no qualifying. Marcel Freeman, a four-time all-America from UCLA, and Rodney Harmon, a junior at Southern Methodist, were awarded two of the five wild cards by D.C. National officials.
"We are trying to develop the Davis Cup players of tomorrow," said Stefanki. "Too many players do not take enough time and really work on the parts of their game which need improving; they turn pro right away. We can help bring out the best potential in these players and also develop their allegiance to the Davis Cup."
Chip Hooper played on the team last year, and Mel Purcell, seeded eighth this week, was a member the year before. The team now has a budget of $100,000, a figure that has been rising steadily each year, according to Stefanki.
Other winners in the qualifying yesterday included Tom Cain of Richmond and Jai DiLouie, who pulled the day's major upset by defeating Australia's Wally Masur, ranked 102 in the world, 6-4, 7-6.