7/27/09 1:40 PM | Johan Lindahl
After failing with late attempts to lure either Andy Murray or Novak Djokovic into this week's Los Angeles Open field, tournament officials have directed unused appearance money to former greats.
Some of their appearance money budget is now spent on retired Pete Sampras, who was facing Marat Safin in an exhibition re-play of the 2000 US Open final won by the Russian.
The Hollywood-style ATP stop played on the UCLA campus just a few blocks from Sunset Boulevard was unable to land Murray or Djokovic despite their representation by the CAA agency which mainly concentrates on show business personalities.
Tournament director Bob Kramer, son of former great Jack Kramer, told the Los Angeles Times that the field which is headed by Germany's Wimbledon semi-finalist Tommy Haas is getting the rock-star treatment with rooms at the trendy Sunset Marquis hotel in West Hollywood.
"We have the money necessary and we made very focused attempts to get a few top-10 players", said Kramer. "When it became clear Roddick and James Blake were un-doable, we began working strongly to get Murray and Djokovic. It didn't work out, and so we went another direction with our money".
Like Indianapolis last week, the event is now mired the the last-tier 250 series on the ATP, with a prize packet of $700,000. By contrast the Washington tournament next week, a 500 series, offers $1.6 million and has attracted players headed by Wimbledon finalist Andy Roddick.
The tour four in the world won't bother to lift a racket in anger for another fortnight, beginning with the Montreal Masters followed by Cincinnati.
In addition to Sampras, LA has brought in former greats Jim Courier, Michael Chang and Stefan Edberg to play in a parallel veteran's series.
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