Professional tennis comes to Costa Mesa

The Costa Mesa Tennis Center plays host to the Costa Mesa Pro Classic on March 17-25.

The $15,000 event, which is part of the USTA Pro Circuit, the largest developmental circuit in the world, will feature 32 singles players and 16 doubles teams.

"This is an opportunity to see both up-and-coming tennis players as well as established professionals," said Hank Lloyd, the tournament director and operator of the Costa Mesa Tennis Center.

"They may not be household names yet, but this is a key step every player must take to reach the next level."

The event is the first of two USTA events at the Costa Mesa Tennis Center.

The next one is a $10,000 tournament in September.

Both events are free to the public.

Steve Johnson, who is from Orange and is a member of the USC men's tennis team, won last year's Costa Mesa Pro Classic.

Johnson, who won the 2011 NCAA singles title, is the top-ranked collegiate player in the country.

The field for the event will be released on March 1.

Singles qualifying begins March 17, with the singles and doubles main draw beginning on March 20.

The finals are set for March 25.

— From staff reports

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