Latest 24 Nov 2012

Top newcomer to debut at Heineken Open

Top newcomer to debut at Heineken Open

The world’s top newcomer to the men’s professional tennis tour will play in January’s Heineken Open.

Slovakian Martin Klizan, who earlier this month reached a career high world ranking of 29 and was awarded ATP newcomer of the year, has confirmed he will start his year in Auckland.

The 23-year-old’s biggest scalp this year was a US Open victory over world no. 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, while in September he won his first ATP title in St Petersburg, Russia.

New Heineken Open Tournament Director Karl Budge said fans shouldn’t miss out on the chance to see one of the future stars of the game.

“We’ve had young Bjorn Borgs, Roger Federers and Rafael Nadals here in Auckland and we all know what they’ve gone on to achieve.

“Martin has gone from 120 in the world at this time last year to crack the top 30. That just shows the rocket-like trajectory he’s on.”

Klizan’s win in St Petersburg was the first title for a Slovakian since two-time Heineken Open champion Dominik Hrbaty collected the second of his Auckland titles in 2004.

The chance of seeing another Slovakian holding aloft the Heineken Open trophy is not unrealistic when you consider that six months ago Klizan hadn’t been able to string together two back-to-back victories on the tour. Now he’s knocking over top 10 players.

Klizan’s coach and former Slovakian star Karol Kucera has been the driving force behind the left hander’s success. He had initially struggling to break into the top 100 following his French Open junior title in 2006.

Earlier this month Budge confirmed that another top newcomer, Belgium’s David Goffin, will also be coming to Auckland. The 21-year-old took a set off Roger Federer at Roland Garros in the round of 16 and peaked at 42 in the world last month.

Defending champion and world no. 5 David Ferrer is the top seed for the Heineken Open and he will be attempting to win his third consecutive title. The full field of 20 players will be announced on Wednesday 28 November.

The 2013 Heineken Open runs from 7-12 January 2013 and tickets are on sale through Ticketek.

All centre court matches for the Heineken Open will be screened live on SKY TV from the start of play at midday.