Former Finalist to Use Heineken Open for Fresh Start
If there’s a bizarre injury situation or bad luck story for a tennis player over the past two years Marion Ancic was involved in it.
, the 2006 finalist at the Heineken Open a former top-10 ranked player who reached a high of No7 in July 2006 has confirmed he will play at January’s Heineken Open featuring the Sovereign singles and doubles
The 23-year-old has a current ATP entry ranking of 86 and will be granted a wildcard if required
by Heineken Open tournament director, Graham Pearce.
The Croat missed nearly six months of 2007 due to illness, but still managed to reach two quarter-finals including the Tennis Masters event at Madrid where he beat James Blake but lost to Novak Djokovic. The previous week he had also reached a quarter, this time at Stockholm.
There were other good individual victories throughout the year including a win over Tommy Haas at the Masters Series tournament in Cincinnati and a fourth round appearance at the Australian Open where he beat Dominik Hrbaty in the third round but lost an epic battle in five sets to Andy Roddick in his next match.
It was in Marseille against Andreas Seppi that things started to go wrong for Ancic as he retired with mononucleosis until August.
He returned at Masters Series at Montreal but withdrew from tournament play at the US Open a few weeks later with a shoulder injury.
At the 2008 Heineken Open he is wanting to start afresh and put all injury problems behind him in what will be his fourth appearance in Auckland.
He first played in 2004 where he beat New Zealander Simon Rea but lost in the second round to Rafael Nadal.
Two years later their were victories over Mark Nielsen, Andy Murray, Fernando Gonzalez and Stanislas Wawrinka before being beaten in the final by an in-form Jarkko Nieminen.
Early this year at the Heineken Open Ancic won his first round over Czech, Lukas Rosol but lost to Mardy Fish in the second round.
“Mario is a great talent to have coming back to the Sovereign singles at the Heineken Open. He has a huge amount of talent and has proved his popularity with crowds at the tournament. Not only has he excelled in Grand Slams during his career he is a former finalist at the Heineken Open.
“Mario has been top-10 and is also a wonderful ambassador for his sport. He will be keen to use the tournament as a staging point for a full year on the ATP circuit without any health problems,” says Heineken Open tournament director, Graham Pearce.
The past history of Ancic is rich with success from an early age. He practiced with countryman Goran ivanisevic from 10-years-old and still has the record as the last man to beat Roger Federer at Wimbledon – first round 2002.
His best performance in Grand Slams has been at Wimbledon where he made the semis in 2004 (lost Roddick) and the quarters two years later (lost Federer). He also reached the quarters on clay at Roland Garros in 2006 (Federer).
He has three career singles titles to his credit including a repeat win on grass at ‘s-hertogenbosch and a title at St Petersburg.
In 2006 he spent time off the circuit due to a knee injury sustained from a jet skiing accident in Croatia and also suffered a back injury.
He played in the 2005 Davis Cup winning Croatian team and has a sister, Sanja who plays on the WTA circuit.
The Heineken Open featuring the Sovereign singles and doubles will be held at the ASB Tennis Centre, January 7 – 12, 2008 with the first two days of qualifying January 5 – 6, 2008 at the Albany Tennis Park, Oteha Valley Road, Albany starting at 10am each day.
The 2008 tournament will feature live scoring as well as live streaming of play and audio podcasts