Del Potro and Ferrer book Auckland
Nov 5, 2008
Two of the world's top 12 ranked tennis players have signed up for Auckland's Heineken Tennis Open in January.
The biggest mover on the ATP tour this year, Argentine Juan Martin Del Potro and former winner Spaniard David Ferrer have been confirmed at the tournament launch this on Wednesday afternoon.
Twenty-year-old Argentinean Juan Martin Del Potro the current world No.8 will head the field for the January 12-17 tournament and will bring with him one of the best records of the year.
An exceptional 2008 including a winning streak of 23 matches in a row beginning with his first career title at Stuttgart (beating Richard Gasquet in the final). Kitzbuhel (defeated Jurgen Melzer for the title).
He followed that with two more back-to-back titles at Los Angeles accounting for Andy Roddick and Washington (beating Viktor Troicki) before the run of four in a row came to an end at the US Open quarter-finals with a loss to Andy Murray.
The 1.98m tall right-hander with a big serve and big groundstrokes now has a total of four singles titles to his credit. He was also a finalist at Tokyo (lost to Tomas Berdych) and reached the semis at Hertogenbosh and Basel along with three quarter-finals - Munich, US Open and the ATP Masters Series at Madrid.
Additionally Del Potro has helped his country to the Davis Cup final against Spain later this month. In the semifinals he won his two singles matches against Russia beating Nikolay Davydenko and Igor Andreev.
His late year consistency has earned him a placed in the elite top-eight year-end Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai next week.
"Del Potro is an undeniable talent and to have had the run he managed prior to the US Open is phenomenal for someone who at the time was still a teenager. He has a real presence on court and is a rising star," says Heineken Open tournament director Richard Palmer.
He comes from the same hometown, Tanil as ATP pros Mariano Zabaleta, Juan Monaco, Diego Junquiera and Maximo Gonzalez.
His father, Daniel, played top level rugby in Argentina, while his younger sister, Julieta benefitted from Juan Martin's first ATP title win when he gifted her the CLK Mercedes-Benz from his Stuttgart win.
In 2006 Del Potro was the youngest player to finish in the top-100 that year at an age of 18-years-two months. In 2007 he was the youngest player in the top-50 (19-years-two months).
He has played at the Heineken Open on one previous occasion losing in the first round as a 18-year-old, but is clearly a player on the way up and is constantly improving his game as is shown by his current top-10 ranking which he first reached this week.
After a topsy-turvy year Ferrer, the 2007 Heineken Open winner, narrowly missed out on a Tennis Masters Cup position but still had an amazing year after he won on clay at his home event, Valencia (beating Nicolas Almagro in the final).
He then proved just as capable on grass by taking away the s-Hertogenbosch title prior to Wimbledon defeating Marc Gicquel in the final.
There was also a finals finish at Barcelona where he battled hard to take Rafael Nadal to three sets in the title match and there was a semifinal finish at Bastad.
The 26-year-old reached two Grand Slam quarterfinals this year, the Australian Open where he beat Del Potro and Juan Carlos Ferrero before losing to Novak Djokovic and at Roland Garros - beating Lleyton Hewitt but went out to Gael Monfils in four sets.
Not long after the Australian Open he reached a career-high ranking of No4 in the world which was a just reward for one of the most consistent and fittest players on the ATP circuit.
He also made the quarters at Dubai, Tokyo and the ATP Masters Series in Monte Carlo beating Marat Safin, but losing to Nadal.
Previously in Grand Slams he reached the semifinals at the US Open in 2007 as well as the quarters at Roland Garros in 2005.
Ferrer has had plenty of success at the Heineken Open making the quarterfinals in January 2008 as he tried to defend his title from the previous year where he had beaten
countryman Tommy Robredo 6-4 6-2, becoming the first Spaniard to win the title.
He has a career win-loss record in Auckland of 11-3.
"David is a world-class player who possess remarkable speed around the court and fully deserves his place in the top echelon of players in the world.
It will be great to have David back at the Heineken Open. He will definitely be a title contender once again," says Heineken Open tournament director Richard Palmer.
He is a member of the Spanish Davis Cup team which will take on Argentina and Del Portp in Argentina in the final later this month.
The Heineken Open featuring the singles and doubles will be held at the ASB Tennis Centre, January 12-17, 2009 with the first two days of qualifying January 10-11, 2009 at the Albany Tennis Park.