USTA Professional Tennis returns to Brownsville when the Brownsville Tennis Association’s Men’s Pro Circuit Tennis Tournament kicks off Feb. 17 for a ten days of high stakes pro tennis action featuring some of the best players from around the world.

This year’s field features two players who attempted to qualify at the Australian Open, Nick Monroe of Chapel Hill, N.C., and Alex Bogomolov Jr. of Miami. Monroe is a former All-American at the University of North Carolina and is coming off the best season of his professional career, winning three tiles in 2006. Bogomolov, a former USTA Boys’ 18s champion, has represented the United States in the 2003 Pan Am Games, winning a bronze medal in doubles, and as a practice partner in the 2002 Davis Cup first round vs. Slovak Republic.

The main draw also includes two 2007 USTA Pro Circuit champions, Michael Lammer of Switzerland, and Nicolas
Todero of Argentina. Lammer won the season-opening tournament in Tampa, Fla., defeating American Donald Young
in the final. Todero, a runner-up at Brownsville in 2002, won the third $10,000 event of the season in Boca Raton, Fla., defeating Dmitri Vlasov in the final; both men entered the main draw as qualifiers.

The Brownsville Tennis Association Men’s Professional Tennis Tournament is the fourth USTA Pro Circuit men’s
futures of the 2007 season. The tournament was first held in 2002 and begins a three week stretch of USTA Pro Circuit events in southern Texas, with men’s futures tournaments in Harlingen and McAllen following the tournament in Brownsville. The tournament is organized by the Brownsville Tennis Association. Last year’s champion, Michael Russell, is currently ranked No. 114 and is not in the field this week. Brownsville was one of three titles on the USTA Pro Circuit for Russell in 2006, and he is presently the all-time singles title leader, winning his 16th title at $50,000 Waikoloa in January.

With 94 tournaments throughout the country and prize money ranging from $10,000 to $100,000, the USTA Pro Circuit is the pathway to the US Open and tour-level competition for aspiring tennis players and a frequent battleground for established professionals. Last year, 1,089 men and women from 74 countries competed on the USTA Pro Circuit for approximately $3.2 million in prize money and valuable ATP and WTA Tour ranking points. Maria Sharapova, Andy Roddick, James Blake, Justine Henin, Nicole Vaidisova, Andrew Murray, and David Nalbandian are among today’s top stars that began their careers on the USTA Pro Circuit

NICK MONROE, Chapel Hill, NC (No. 287, Age: 24)
2007 Australian Open: Attempted to qualify. 2004 All-American (singles) in senior season at University of North Carolina. 2006 In Review: Most successful year in singles, winning three titles: $15,000 Dehra Dun, India (def. Sipaeya in final); $15,000 Benin City, Nigeria (def. Nicau in final); and $10,000 San Jose, Costa Rica.

MICHAEL LAMMER, Switzerland (No. 297, Age: 24)
2007: Won season-opening tournament at $10,000 Tampa (def. Young in final). Roommate of Roger Federer in Biel in 2001-02. 2006 In Review: Qualified for the Australian Open (l. to Roddick in first round 46 26 26) and attempted to qualify at the other three Grand Slams. Represented Switzerland in Davis Cup play.  

ALEX BOGOMOLOV, JR., Miami, FL (No. 307, Age: 23)
2007 Australian Open: Attempted to qualify. Has been ranked as high as No. 97 (November 2003) and has wins over Tommy Haas, James Blake, and Justin Gimelstob... Practice partner for U.S. Davis Cup team in 2002 first round vs. Slovak Republic… Represented U.S. in 2003 Pan Am Games, winning a bronze medal in doubles.

IZAK VAN DER MERWE, South Africa (No. 442, Age: 23)
2007: Lost in first round as a wild card at $125,000 Durban to eventual champion Montcourt. Is currently ranked at a career-high No. 442… All-American at Old Dominion University in singles and doubles (2003-04)… Represented South Africa in Davis Cup play in 2006, posting a 1-3 record (1-2 singles, 0-1 doubles).  

DUSAN VEMIC, Serbia (Age: 30)
2007: Runner-up at $10,000 N. Miami Beach (l. to Echagaray)… Qualified for ATP event in Delray Beach. Represented Yugoslavia in 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney… Represented Serbia (then Yugoslavia) from 1997-2005 in Davis Cup play, posting a 17-9 record in 15 ties.

WESLEY WHITEHOUSE, South Africa (No. 377, Age: 27)
2007: Attempted to qualify at ATP event in Auckland. Defeated Marat Safin in the second round at Indianapolis last July, marking the first time he had won two ATP main draw matches in a row in his eight year career.

HORIA TECAU, Romania (No. 425, Age: 21)
2007: Reached quarterfinal at $10,000 Boca Raton (l. to Kryvonos). 2006 In Review: Represented Romania in Davis Cup play, including first round loss to U.S. in La Jolla, CA… Attempted to qualify for ATP events in Delray Beach and Las Vegas… Semifinalist at $50,000 Lexington (l. to H. Lee)…..

MICHAEL YANI, Boca Raton, FL (No. 437, Age: 26)
2007: Reached quarterfinal at $10,000 Tampa (l. to eventual champion Lammer). Two-time doubles All-American at Duke University. 2006 In Review: Won fourth singles title of career at $15,000 Woodland, CA (def. Anderson in final)… Reached semifinals at $50,000 Yuba City, CA (l. to Warburg) and second round at $75,000 Aptos, CA.

NICOLAS TODERO, Argentina (No. 508, Age: 27)
2007: Qualified and won title at $10,000 Boca Raton (def. Vlasov in final). In January, extended his steak of reaching a Futures singles or doubles final to ten straight years with a win in Boca Raton, FL. 2006 In Review: Attempted to qualify for ATP Tour events in Barcelona, Munich, and Amersfoort.

TIM SMYCZEK, Hales Corners, WI (No. 563, Age: 19)
2007: Received wild cards at $10,000 N. Miami Beach (l. in first round) and $10,000 Boca Raton (l. in second round). Is currently ranked at a career-high No. 563… Practice partner for U.S. Davis Cup team in 2006 Quarterfinal vs. Chile.

PETER POLANSKY, Canada (No. 580, Age: 18)
2007: Won three titles at $10,000 El Salvador, $10,000 Guatemala, and $10,000 San Jose, Costa Rica… Made Davis Cup debut representing Canada in 5-0 win over Colombia; defeated Carlos Salamanca in a dead rubber, 76(4) 64.

This year’s Brownsville event offers a $15,000 purse. The event is free to spectators. All events to be held at the Brownsville Tennis Center.