August 29, 2006
Hanley & Ullyett, Knowles & Nestor Qualify
Paul Hanley and Kevin Ullyett, the No. 3 team in the Stanford ATP Doubles Race, and Mark Knowles and Daniel Nestor the No. 4 team, have secured spots in Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai, the prestigious circuit finale to be held for the second year at Qi Zhong Stadium from November 12-19.
Hanley and Ullyett and Knowles and Nestor are the third and fourth doubles teams to qualify this year behind Bob and Mike Bryan and Jonas Bjorkman and Max Mirnyi who secured their Shanghai berths in July.
Hanley and Ullyett, a new pairing in 2006, have compiled an impressive 40-14 record this season and have taken home four titles. The duo opened the season by advancing to the final in Adelaide and then made a run to the semifinals at the Australian Open, their first team appearance in a Grand Slam event. They followed up their Australian Open appearance with back-to-back hard court titles in Rotterdam and Dubai and earned their first ATP Masters Series shield in Hamburg. The pair advanced to two consecutive finals this summer, in Washington and at the ATP Masters Series event in Toronto.
“To qualify by the US Open in the first year of a partnership is really great,” said Ullyett, the 2004 Tennis Masters Cup doubles finalist (with Wayne Black). “I knew we could do well this year and there was no doubt about that. We started off the first month doing well in Australia and have been playing well ever since.”
Hanley, who will be making his second consecutive appearance at the Tennis Masters Cup after qualifying last year with Wayne Arthurs, said about the qualification: “It was one of the goals to achieve this year. It’s been good; we continue to play well and continue to understand each other’s game, so it’s new and exciting. The pressure is off and it’s nice to know we can just focus on the rest of the tournaments.”
Knowles and Nestor, partners for the last 12 years, have a 36-14 record and have won four crowns this year. The pair started the season with a win in Delray Beach and made a run to the final in Marseille. They picked up some momentum advancing to the final in Dubai and taking their first ATP Masters Series shield of the season with a win in Indian Wells. The pair followed up their performance at Indian Wells with back-to-back wins in Barcelona and at the ATP Masters Series event in Rome.
“It is very exciting to be back at the Tennis Masters Cup,” said Nestor. “This is a title that has eluded us the past few years so it has definitely been a focus of ours. We’ve had a great year and it’s great to be able to qualify so early.”
The Bahamian-Canadian duo, who advanced to the Tennis Masters Cup semifinals in 2003 and 2004, will be making their fourth consecutive team appearance in the circuit finale. They currently hold a 101-point lead over their nearest rival in the Stanford ATP Doubles Race, the No. 5 team of Fabrice Santoro and Nenad Zimonjic.
“The ATP Doubles Revolution promotional campaign has brought great attention to the doubles game this year,” said Tennis Masters Cup Tournament Director Brad Drewett.” The feedback that we received from doubles at last year’s Tennis Masters Cup has demonstrated that the fans have great interest in the game. We are excited to have Hanley/Ullyett and Knowles/Nestor join the field.”
The top seven teams in the Stanford ATP Doubles Race following the BNP Paribas Masters qualify for the circuit finale, with one spot reserved for Grand Slam champions finishing within the Top 20.