Silver Spring native Harold Solomon, former Australian Open champion Brian Teacher and part-time actor Vijay Amritraj, a first-round loser at Wimbledon, head the field for the Washington circuit stop of the Grand Champions tennis tour, tonight through Sunday at FitzGerald Tennis Center in Rock Creek Park.
The tournament, featuring eight of the top 35-and-over players in the world, is a prelude to next week's Sovran Bank Classic, which begins Monday at FitzGerald Center. Qualifying matches for the Sovran Classic will be held in the day, Grand Champion matches at night, beginning at 6.
The Grand Champions tournament carries a $65,000 purse, with $13,000 going to the winner.
To qualify for the Grand Champions circuit, a player must have either won $1 million in prize money during his career, won a Grand Slam tournament, played in the Davis Cup or been ranked No. 1 in his country.
The Washington stop is the third of the nine-tournament season, but neither of this year's two winners -- Tom Gullikson, who won in Atlanta, and John Lloyd, who won in Hartford -- are playing this weekend. Neither is defending champion Kim Warwick.
Solomon, who won 22 events and over $1.8 million in his 13-year career, has fared poorly this year, losing in the first round in Atlanta and the second round in Hartford. But a return to the Washington area may give him added life.
In the 1974 Washington Star International, Solomon upset Guillermo Vilas for his first professional win. He won the D.C. Open in 1976, the same year he made the finals of the French Open.
Amritraj will be making his Grand Champions debut. The stylish Madras, India, native had to win three qualifying matches to get into Wimbledon, where he suffered a five-set loss to American Joey Rive.
Peter Fleming makes his first Grand Champions appearance.
Rounding out the field are Jaime Fillol, Steve Krulevitz, Bob Lutz and Marty Riessen.
In tonight's matches, Fleming takes on Fillol at 6, followed by Krulevitz against Amritraj, and a doubles match, Fillol-Riessen vs. Krulevitz-Solomon.