I'm surprised that after this year's debacle that Juan Carlos is coming back to Auckland (the year I won't be in the city!)
Tennis: Organisers sure of Spaniard this time
Saturday November 18, 2006
Former world No 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain has been confirmed for the men's Open in January.
Ferrero has won 11 titles, including a Grand Slam win at Roland Garros in 2003, two Grand Slam finals in 2002 and the US Open in 2003.
Ranked at 23 in the world, Ferrero was to have played in the 2006 Heineken Open but a mix-up with his entry saw him miss the event.
But the January 8-13 tournament will be his third visit to Auckland.
His first time at the Open was in 2000 as the world No 45, where he beat No 61 Roger Federer 6-4, 6-4 on court six. Ferrero made the quarter-finals before losing to Juan Balcells in three sets.
His best performance this year was at the ATP Masters Series at Cincinnati where he took the hard road to reach the final, beating the then-ranked No 5 James Blake in straight sets in the second round, No 2 Rafael Nadal in two tie breaks in the quarters then No 7 Tommy Robredo in straight sets in the semis. He eventually fell to Andy Roddick.
Other top results for 2006 include third-round appearances at the Australian Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
Tournament director Graham Pearce said it was great to have Ferrero returning to Auckland, especially after spectators missed the chance to see him this year.
"He adds to an already quality field and is an extremely talented player. He will be someone to really watch out for."
The year 2003 clearly sits as a highlight for Ferrero. He won four titles and was in the Davis Cup final. He also scored his then-best-ever result at the Australian Open, reaching the quarters, won the French Open title at Roland Garros (beating surprise finalist Martin Verkerk in straight sets) and at the US Open beat Lleyton Hewitt in the quarters and Andre Agassi in the semis before losing to Roddick.
He had some blips in his career a couple of years ago when he had chicken pox and then wrist and rib injuries but still managed to fight his way back into the top 20 again in 2005.