Johansson a starter
The depth of the 2005 Next Generation Hardcourts has been boosted after exciting young Swede Joachim Johansson confirmed his intention to challenge Australian Lleyton Hewitt in his hometown tournament.
Johansson, 22, has several motivations to play the Hardcourts, which start January 3.
Not only would victory in the $US380,000 lead-up tournament to the Australian Open leave him in great stead for the first grand slam of the year and further signal his dramatic rise through the men's circuit, but it will also coincide with a visit to his girlfriend, Jaslyn Hewitt.
The younger sister of Lleyton, Jaslyn's loyalty was famously torn in the semi final of the men's US Open last month when her boyfriend battled her brother for a shot at the final.
Hewitt won that encounter, but Johansson would love to settle the score by causing an upset on the Australian's home turf.
Aside from his personal connection to Adelaide, Johansson has plenty of fond memories of Memorial Drive.
Johansson was a part of the Sweden team which dramatically upset Australia in the Davis Cup in February, and he was able to build on his good form there to enjoy an exciting year in which he rose 102 places on the men's circuit to No. 11, and captured his first ATP title at Memphis.
He was also a quarterfinalist at Toronto, Long Island, San Jose and Lyon.
Tournament director Peter Johnston was delighted to have Johansson confirmed for the 32-draw event.
"Joachim is one of the most exciting young players on the ATP Tour at the moment
and it is great he’s chosen to return to Adelaide again," Johnston said.
Johansson has played in Adelaide in 2002 and 2003 but lost in qualifying rounds, but is hopeful of adding his name to the illustrious list of winners including Hewitt in 1998 and 2000, Tommy Haas of Germany (2001) and Great Britain’s Tim Henman (2002).