Entry List Produces Exciting Mix of Familiar and New ATP Stars
The countdown to the third edition of the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur is well and truly underway with the official release of the full ATP World Tour entry list and event visual - and it is a fantastic line up of players heading to Putra Stadium, Bukit Jalil, September 24 to October 2, 2011.
Leading an impressively strong field which sees a cut-off at #68, is the 2010 Wimbledon finalist and World No.9 Tomas Berdych and close behind him is the Spanish Davis Cup player and KL debutant and World No.11, Nicolas Almagro. Berdych has had an incredibly consistent season so far. The 25 year old Czech has reached the quarter-finals or better at 12 of the 16 events he has played, while Almagro is having his best season ever.
There are a total of six players ranked in the world’s top-20 heading to Kuala Lumpur.
The Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur 2011 will play host to singles players from more than 15 different nations, with Russians numbering the most at three, followed by the Czechs and Serbs with two each.
“The cross-section of nations makes things incredibly exciting for the tournament because it allows word of the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur to cross the continents from Asia to Australia and from Europe to the Americas,” Tournament Director Nick Freyer, of organizers IMG, said. “I believe we are poised to see the best ever Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur unfold as such a variety of personalities will have fans enthralled with their unique styles and brands of tennis.”
“The entire tournament is delighted to welcome to KL such a nice mix of fresh faces and old friends. Additionally, there is a wonderful blend of established names and future marquee names that are readily nipping at the heels of those at the highest echelons of the ATP World Tour rankings.”
Between them the players in the line-up for the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur 2011 have won a total of 37 career titles including the season-ending Championship, the ATP World Tour Finals, and appeared in a total of 40 career finals including a Grand Slam.
Berdych remains one of the most consistent players on the Tour. The Czech is constantly featuring in the business end of tournaments. His great power and reach will be right at home on centre court at Putra Stadium. To prove his consistency this year Berdych, who has career earnings of over $8.5million, has reached the semis in Bastad, Halle, Nice, Dubai and Chennai and he made the quarters at another seven events including the Australian Open and Masters 1000 events in Montreal, Rome, Madrid and Miami.
“It’s great to have been so consistent as I wanted to do that before the season started,’ Berdych said."I’m looking forward to trying to go further the rest of the year, but so far, the season has been solid.”
Meanwhile, Almagro, nicknamed “Nico,” is enjoying the best year of his career having won three titles, in Nice, Buenos Aires and Costa do Sauipe and reaching the finals in Hamburg and Acapulco. He was also a semi-finalist four times and made the quarters of the Masters 1000 in Montreal last week. This year Almagro, with his glorious single-handed backhand, also became the 25th Spaniard to crack the world’s top-10 and has already banked in excess of $1million in prize money for 2011.
“The only thing that I want is to be at peace with my tennis,” Almagro said. “The only thing I want is to keep on working; working like I am doing and for sure the results are going to keep on coming.”
Stars like Berdych, 2009 winner Nikolay Davydenko and defending champion Mikhail Youzhny have developed quite a following in Kuala Lumpur, but they will be challenged by an incredibly exciting band of young players who have made stunning forays on the world rankings in 2011.
The Australian Bernard Tomic will draw plenty of attention in KL. His amazing run at Wimbledon that saw him reach the quarter-finals from the qualifying rounds, made tennis observers around the world sit up and take note. Then there is the other teenager Ryan Harrison from the USA, who will gain entry into the tournament via a wild card if required, and who is being touted as the next big thing in American tennis. Many feel these two youngsters will develop quite a rivalry in the future and the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur 2011 could well provide an early glimpse of that.
Joining them will be the explosive game of Canadian Milos Raonic, winner of the San Jose title in 2011, who possesses one of the fastest serves in the world. Raonic made his breakthrough last year in Kuala Lumpur where he came through qualifying to reach the quarter-finals. The 20 year old from Ontario is thrilling to watch in full flight. His form this year has been so impressive that his ranking went from 156 at the start of the season to a career high of 25. Recently recovered from a hip injury that required surgery, he will be looking to continue his run of fine form that began last year in Malaysia.
Asian tennis is well represented with Japan’s Kei Nishikori and India’s Somdev Devvarman who have both made impressive strides in 2011, while Malaysia’s #1 Si Yew Ming will certainly have the local tennis community abuzz when he plays doubles with Ryan Harrison. The pair has been granted a wild-card into the main draw of the doubles.
The tournament is very happy to lay out the first-time welcome mat for the Austrian lefthander and Grand Slam doubles Champion and singles semi-finalist Jurgen Melzer, as well as two very colorful personalities in Viktor Troicki and Janko Tipsarevic, heroes of the victorious Serbian Davis Cup team.
The Ministry of Tourism, Malaysia and Tourism Malaysia are founding partners of the tournament, which is promoted and broadcast throughout Malaysia, Asia and the World.
“We are very pleased that the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur 2011 has once again attracted such a distinguished, international, group of tennis stars from places far and wide,” said YB Dato' Sri Dr. Ng Yen Yen, Minister of Tourism, Malaysia. “To see many of the players returning for the second and third time, is clear testimony to their appreciation of our country and the hospitality and tourism infrastructure for which we are so well known.”
Under the entry criteria 19 players have direct acceptance into the main draw. There are a total of three wild cards which are awarded to players at the Tournament Director’s discretion, and there are four places for qualifiers. Additionally, there are two places for
“Special Exempts”, these go to players who cannot make it to the qualifying draw because they are still playing in the advanced stages of a tournament of the same level from the week before. If the Special Exempt positions are not required, then the next two players on the entry list will move into the main draw.
Tickets continue to sell at a tremendous pace under the new ticketing structure that was announced earlier in the year. Tickets are available through the event website or directly from TicketPro.
The Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur 2011 promises to have an incredible atmosphere and this is an amazing opportunity to watch some of the best and most exciting tennis players in the world.
For more information and updates on the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur 2011, please log on to www.MalaysianOpenTennis.com.