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Old 12-03-2004, 06:22 AM   #23
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www.australianmenshardcourts.com.au

Johansson teams with Woodbridge
Doubles supremo Todd Woodbridge will team with exciting Swedish star Joachim Johansson at the 2005 Next Generation Hardcourts at Memorial Drive, Adelaide (January 3-9), it was announced today.

The most successful doubles player of all time, world No.6 ranked Woodbridge, who recently split with Swedish partner Jonas Bjorkman, said he was looking for a player who he could win his 83rd title with in the New Year. Ironically, in February this year, the doubles pairing of Bjorkman and Johansson defeated Woodbridge and Wayne Arthurs at the same venue when Sweden defeated Australia in the Davis Cup first round Tie in Adelaide.

"Johansson is a dangerous player, a big gun, he has an explosive game," said Woodbridge. "He’s a typical Swede; good natured, a nice person and a pleasant guy to play with. I’ve known him since he was a junior and practised with him quite a lot."

Woodbridge will play with Indian Mahesh Bhupathi for the rest of the 2005 season, however Bhupathi has elected to compete at home in the Chennai Open, another tournament on the Road to the Australian Open in the first week of January.

"I didn’t want to go all the way to India or have a long break before playing at Sydney (Sydney International) and Melbourne (Australian Open)," Woodbridge, 33, said.

"An Aussie would have been good but Wayne (Arthurs) is recovering from a rib injury. I’ve chosen someone I think I can win the tournament with," he added.

Johansson, 22, shot to a world ranking of No.12 in singles following a successful Davis Cup First Round against Australia in February where he and Bjorkman defeated Aussie duo Woodbridge and Arthurs 7-5 in the fifth set at Memorial Drive.

"If you can’t beat them join them," said Woodbridge, who won four doubles titles in 2004 with Bjorkman including his ninth Wimbledon crown.

Johansson played a starring role in the Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group First Round against Australia in Adelaide this year. He partnered Jonas Bjorkman in the doubles and defeated Wayne Arthurs and Woodbridge in a thrilling five-setter.

Johansson played doubles in seven tournaments this year with an assortment of players including Aussie Todd Perry in Munich, and finished the year ranked No.177 in doubles.

Woodbridge, who won the singles title in Adelaide in 1997 and two doubles titles with Mark Woodforde, said this year’s Next Generation Hardcourts field was excellent.

"It’s the strongest draw they’ve had for many years. A lot of players now prefer to compete in Australia in preparation for the Australian Open and as the tournament doesn’t start until January 3 they can spend the New Year at home before making the trip. It’s shaping up as the best one of the best ever fields."
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