2006 AAMI Classic launched at Kooyong
January 11-14 2006 Melbourne, Australia.
CLASSIC FIELD ANNOUNCED FOR 2006 EVENT
Tournament Director, Colin Stubs, today announced that leading Australian car, home andco mpulsory third party personal injury insurer, AAMI, has signed a three year major sponsorship agreement with the Kooyong Classic tennis event, forthwith to be known as the AAMI Classic.
The 2006 AAMI Classic (Jan. 11-14) will boast a star-studded field. World no. 1, dual 2005 Grand Slam winner (Wimbledon & US Open) and current Kooyong title-holder, ROGER FEDERER (SUI), will return for the third time. Federer, who continues to dominate, was a semi-finalist at the Australian and French Opens and has also won four ATP Masters Series tournaments this year (Miami, Hamburg, Cincinnati & Indian Wells), as well as four ATP events (Rotterdam, Halle, Doha and Dubai).
ANDY RODDICK (USA - ranked 3) joins Federer in his third Kooyong appearance. Roddick, who enjoyed no. 1 ranking status in 2003, has had a solid year, winning four ATP tournaments (Houston, Queens Club, Washington and San Jose). He was a finalist at Wimbledon, in ATP Masters Series Cincinnati and reached the semi-finals in the Australian Open, Memphis and ATP Masters Series Indian Wells.
Andre Agassi after playing in the 2005 tournament.
Kooyong's strongest supporter and crowd favourite, ANDRE AGASSI (USA - ranked 5), is likely to notch up his ninth appearance, having announced his intention to return. Agassi, after a setback at the French Open, returned with a vengeance in lead-up tournaments to the US Open, winning in Los Angeles and reaching the finals of the ATP Masters Series in Canada. He took that form, and then some, to Flushing Meadows, going down in fighting spirit to Roger Federer in the final. He also made the semi-finals in Dubai and in ATP Masters Series events in Rome and Miami.
He was a quarter-finalist at the Australian Open, in Houston, San Jose and ATP Masters Series Indian Wells.
Argentinian, DAVID NALBANDIAN (ranked 12) is becoming a Kooyong regular. He is back for the fourth time and another tilt at the title, having beaten Agassi in three sets in the 04 final. His 2005 highlights include a win in Munich and reaching the quarter-finals at the US & Australian Opens, Wimbledon and in Beijing.
Compatriot, GUILLERMO CORIA (ranked 6), will make his first Kooyong appearance and is a strong addition to the field. The clay-court specialist won in Umag this year, and made the finals in the ATP Masters Series events in Monte Carlo, Rome and the ATP tournament in Beijing. He was a semi-finalist in Sopot and a quarter-finalist at the US Open, ATP Masters Series Hamburg and in Auckland.
German born but Florida based TOMMY HAAS (ranked 45), who played in the 2002 event, has since been keen to return to Kooyong's elite eight line-up. He has had an encouraging year after missing all of 2003 recovering from a shoulder operation. He made the semi-finals in Memphis, Halle, Munich and San Jose, and reached the quarter-finals in Houston.
Discussions are proceeding with MARAT SAFIN (RUS - ranked 8), RICHARD GASQUET (FRA - ranked 12) and TAYLOR DENT (USA - ranked 24) in relation to the remaining spots.
Colin Stubs said at today's launch: "We are absolutely delighted to welcome AAMI on board as our naming rights sponsor. Having noted AAMI's professionalism and the longevity associated with the company's other sponsorships, I can confidently say that the future of the AAMI Classic is assured.
Arguably the best ever player field will assemble at Kooyong next January. We are thrilled that Roger, Andy, David and Tommy have chosen to return. We look forward to welcoming Guillermo and are confident that Andre will again grace our centre court".
Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club President, Peter Quinn, added: "The Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club is happy to be associated with AAMI as the sponsor of our annual tennis event. The AAMI image is one of excellent service to its customers and the community and we look forward to a long and productive relationship".
AAMI General Manager Marketing, Don Casboult, responded: "AAMI is delighted to have formed this sponsorship association with the AAMI Classic. Over the history of the event many of the world's top men players have played here at Kooyong and this continues in 2006 with the magnificent line up announced today. We at AAMI believe there is great synergy between the quality of this event and the AAMI brand".
Tennis Australia President, Geoff Pollard, commented: "Tennis Australia is pleased to continue its association with the AAMI Classic. I welcome AAMI into the tennis fraternity as a new sponsor and trust that the company will be a long-term supporter of the sport. Once again, the event show cases eight of the world's top male players. Going on past history, it is likely that the Australian Open winner will be among them".
In two "firsts" for the AAMI Classic, the Seven Network will provide a live telecast of the final on Saturday, January 14 and The Age newspaper will provide significant editorial and promotional support under a recently entered into arrangement.
The event is also appreciative of the support provided by Mercedes-Benz, Rado, Spring Valley, 3AW, Diadora, Peter Rowland Major Events, Wilson, Ferngrove Wines, Lanson Champagne, Vittoria Coffee, Tennis Australia and Tennis Victoria.
Times of play are as follows:
Wednesday, January 11 11.00 am (four matches)
Thursday, January 12 11.00 am (three matches)
Friday, January 13 11.00 am (three matches)
Saturday, January 14 12.30 pm (3 v 4) 3.00 pm (final)
Andre Agassi forever