The Coast News Group
The Carlsbad Classic Women’s Tennis Association tournament will not be in operation this year as the tournament moved to Hawaii and rebranded as the Hawaii Open. File photo by Steve Puterski
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Carlsbad Classic leaves town, heads to Hawaii

CARLSBAD — Quietly the city has lost its only professional tennis tournament.

The Carlsbad Classic, for the second time, has uprooted and has moved off the mainland. According to media reports, the tournament will become the Hawaii Open and will be played the week of Thanksgiving; the same week the Carlsbad tournament took place last year.

This year the Hawaii Open will take place on the island of Oahu, Hawaiian media reported in June. A message left with a spokesperson for the former Carlsbad tournament was not returned.

The event is a Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) 125K tournament and featured nearly three-dozen players last year, including Carlsbad teen standout Brett Berger and was won by Yanina Wickmayer.

According to reports, the Hawaii Open’s structure will remain as it was last year in Carlsbad. There will be a 32-player singles draw, an eight-player qualifying and an eight-team doubles draw.

As for the local event, tournament Director Ben Goldsmith said last year his goal for the tournament was to become one of the top draws on the circuit and, eventually, lead into the Indian Wells event. He said the Indian Wells tournament is the largest in the world “by volume” and with an aggressive approach; the Carlsbad Classic would be an ideal warm-up tournament for the WTA’s top talent going into Indian Wells.

Last season’s event was the first in two years for Carlsbad after the WTA left for Japan.

The Carlsbad Classic brought a mixed bag of ranked players, although one of the main attractions came from a budding California teenager.

CiCi Bellis, who captured national headlines three years ago with a first-round upset over 12th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova, 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, at the 2014 U.S. Open, was part of the 32-player singles draw. The San Francisco native and Southern California resident, just 17, has been climbing the ranks and is one player local fans were drawn to, according to Goldsmith.