Omg, Patty, prepare yourself for a loss if you don't know anything about the GREAT stanford star!!!!
Tennis stars ready to go
Serena Williams one of many big names in the Stanford field
By John Reid / Daily News Staff Writer
Serena Williams is the No. 1 seed at next week's Bank of the West Classic at Stanford University. Tournament Director Adam Barrett is banking, so to speak, on Williams showing up to attract a large gate. Williams has committed to play in recent years, only to drop out at the last minute, citing injuries.
"Serena has her hotel and her flight booked," Barrett said. "If she backs out, she always does it before the draw. It would be important to have her here. She's a Grand Slam winner numerous times."
The tournament draw was Friday afternoon, and Williams' name stood on the board as one of four top seeds who received a first-round bye. Defending champion Anna Chakvetadze of Russia is seeded No. 2, Russian Vera Zvonareva is No. 3 and Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova is fourth.
Switzerland's Patty Schnyder, a BOW finalist two years ago, is seeded No. 5. Schnyder is the No. 1-ranked player in her country and No. 13 in the world.
"I really like playing this tournament," Schnyder said. "The crowd supports all the players, and the players like playing here."
Schnyder tweaked her ankle at the French Open, where she made it all the way to the quarterfinals. She was ousted in the first round at Wimbledon. Schnyder's first-round opponent is former Stanford star Amber Liu, which should make for an intriguing match.
"My health is good," Schnyder said. "I came here early to get ready to play good tennis. I don't know anything about Amber Liu."
"Patty's match with Amber should be one of the better opening matches," Barrett said. "Amber is used to playing here and will have the home crowd behind her."
Ten of the top 25 players in the world are here, including eight players who have been ranked in the top 10 during their careers. The field has a combined 35 Grand Slam titlists - 11 singles, 15 doubles and nine mixed doubles.
The Bank of the West also has a strong Olympic flavor with 21 of the top 28 players representing their countries at the Beijing Olympics Aug. 10-17. Three of the six American Olympians are in the field, including Williams and Lindsay Davenport. The third U.S. Olympian is Liezel Huber, who is half of the world's No. 1-ranked doubles team, along with partner Cara Black. Davenport, a three-time Grand Slam winner, was placed ninth on the ladder. Davenport plays Italy's Francesca Schiavone, the No. 8 seed, in a first-round match of note.
"It's hard to say that this is a strong field," Barrett said. "But it's better than last year. Two years ago, the field didn't look that strong, but look where those players are today."
Thirty-two players start qualifying for four at-large berths today, including former Cardinal players Anne Yelsey and Theresa Logar and Stanford sophomore Hilary Barte, the 2008 ITA National Rookie of the Year as a freshman.
The finals are a week from Sunday. For tickets, go to www.bankofthewestclassic.com
E-mail John Reid at