Who will win the Sovran Bank Classic?
Will it be top-seeded Andre Agassi, the brash 20-year-old known mostly for wild outfits and skipping Wimbledon?
Will it be on-again, off-again John McEnroe, winner of 82 singles titles, but only three in the last two years?
Will it be 1989 French Open champion Michael Chang, who hasn't made it past any quarterfinal in 1990?
Or will it be any of a number of erstwhile contenders, including second-seeded Brad Gilbert, defending champion and fourth-seeded Tim Mayotte and Soviet sensation Alexander Volkov?
Despite the late withdrawals of Jimmy Connors and Aaron Krickstein, the draw for this year's tournament, which begins today at noon at the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center, is a solid one.
So is the purse, which at $550,000 is nearly double last year's. The singles champion earns $70,000, the runner-up gets $36,880 and the doubles winners split $28,000.
If there is a favorite, it is Agassi. The Las Vegas native, ranked No. 5, hasn't played since losing to Andres Gomez in the final of the French Open early last month. But he has won twice this year, including the International Players Championships, and has a 23-4 record.
McEnroe, ranked No. 12, is a shaky third seed, having played in only two tournaments since February. At Queen's Club, a Wimbledon tuneup, he lost in the semifinals to Ivan Lendl. At Wimbledon he fell in the first round to Derrick Rostagno.
McEnroe has to be on his best behavior this week. After accumulating $6,500 in fines while being disqualified from the Australian Open, he is only $1,000 away from a suspension, which would force him to miss next month's U.S. Open.
Chang, the fifth seed, has slipped to a No. 22 ranking after reaching No. 5 last year. The 5-foot-8 Californian lost to Agassi in the quarterfinals of the French Open and in the fourth round of Wimbledon to eventual champion Stefan Edberg.
Chang is a good hard-court player, a bonus, because the Sovran is played on Deco Turf II.
"I grew up on hard courts," he said. "These are actually a little slower, which favors me. It gives me time to get to the ball and make more shots."
After winning the French in 1989, "everyone labeled me a clay-court player, but I'm actually more of a hard-court player if anything."
Mayotte, ranked 19th, has history working against him: In the 21 years of the event, no one has won consecutive titles. Mayotte probably won't either. His 1989 win here is his lone triumph in two years.
Mayotte didn't play between March and June, nursing a knee injury, but now is back with two new coaches.
"I needed time to reassess and refocus," he said, "but now I'm ready to go. It just takes a little time to get back into form."
Gilbert may be the man to watch. He is a two-time runner-up here, losing to Lendl in 1987 and to Mayotte last year. Gilbert, No. 6 in the world, already has won in Rotterdam and Orlando, Fla., this year, and had his best Wimbledon showing, losing to Boris Becker in the quarterfinals.