iNFO OF PLAYERS ETC:
The 32nd edition of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament will again live up to its status as a top tournament. With no less than four top-10 and 22 top-35 players, the tournement boasts an exceptionally strong draw. Earlier today, Tournament Director Richard Krajicek announced the final tournament line-up, which includes late entrants Guillermo Coria and Juan Carlos Ferrero.
Guillermo Coria is one of the most striking players on the list. The Argentinean, who currently ranks 7th in the world, has won all of his eight tournament victories on gravel. In addition to winning in Buenos Aires and Monte Carlo during 2004, Coria came very close to taking his first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros. In the event, he was unable to match his fellow countryman Gaston Gaudio during the final. Having reached last year’s final in Rosmalen, the 22-year old has fond memories of the Netherlands.
Although Juan Carlos Ferrero played extremely well during last year’s tournament, he was unable to ward off Australian Lleyton Hewitt during a scintillating three-set final, which some consider the best in the history of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament. On his way to the final, Ferrero faced tough opposition from Dennis van Scheppingen, John van Lottum, Raemon Sluiter and defending champion Max Mirnyi. Plagued by a series of injuries, Ferrero has since slipped to 31st place in the world rankings. The Spaniard is nevertheless fully recovered and eager to improve on last year’s performance.
Roger Federer again heads the list of seeds. The Swiss, whose name has appeared at the top of the ATP ranking for some time, had an excellent season in 2004, winning an astounding eleven tournaments, including the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. Federer ended the year by securing the Tennis Masters Cup in Houston. The Swiss is a regular participant in the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, which remains one of the best attended men’s indoor International Series Gold tournaments on the ATP Tour.
Other top-10 players to compete for the ‘Wim Buitendijk Trophy’ between Monday 14 February and Sunday 20 February include Tim Henman (Eng), David Nalbandian (Arg), former top-10 players such as Sébastien Grosjean (Fra), Nicolas Kiefer (Ger), Paradorn Srichaphan (Tha), Thomas Johansson (Swe) and Rainer Schuettler (Ger) and well-known competitors like Tommy Robredo (Spa), Dominik Hrbaty (Slo), Mikhail Youzhny (Rus), Andrei Pavel (Rom), Ivan Ljubicic (Cro), Feliciano Lopez (Spa), Nikolay Davydenko (Rus), Mario Ancic (Cro) and Radek Stepanek (Cze).
The list of players making their debut in Rotterdam is also extensive, and includes Coria, Nalbandian, Joachim Johansson (Swe - ranked 11th in the world), Taylor Dent (US), Robin Soderling (Swe), Florian Mayer (Ger), Fernando Verdasco (Spa) and Michael Llodra (Fra). Taylor Dent is the first American to enter the tournament since Richey Reneberg, who played in 1998.
Thomas Schuettler, who currently ranks 42nd in the world, brings up the rear.
Sjeng Schalken and Raemon Sluiter have both been awarded a wild card for the main tournament. Schalken (28) has been playing top-level tennis for over 10 years, and previously ranked 11th in the world. The Dutchman had an injury-prone season in 2004, and was beaten by Raemon Sluiter during the second round of the 31st ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament. Sluiter (26) went on to play Juan Carlos Ferrero in the quarter finals, losing 12-10 in the tiebreak of the third set. The Dutchman, who will again play in front of a home crowd, lost the 2003 final to Max Mirnyi. Tournament Director Richard Krajicek will allocate the third (and final) wild card shortly before the tournament.
The qualifying tournament, during which 16 players will compete for the last four places in the main tournament, will take place on 12 and 13 February 2005. Karan Rastogi (India) and Jesse Huta Galung (Neth) have already received a wild card. Tournament Director Richard Krajicek also has a third (and final) wild card to allocate for the qualifying tournament, which will start at 10.00 on both days. Entrance fee: EUR 8 per ticket, per day.
Tickets for the main tournament and the qualifying tournament are available from the Ahoy’ Rotterdam box office. Tickets can also be reserved by telephone 0900 2352469 - € 0.45 p.m.) or via Internet (www.abnamro.nl/wtt