Haas' comeback to continue at Heineken Open
Former world No 2 Tommy Haas will continue his remarkable comeback at next year's Heineken Open men's tennis tournament in Auckland.
The addition of Haas and fellow German Philipp Kohlschreiber, the 2008 champion, were the features as the Heineken Open's full field was revealed at a function in Auckland this evening.
Along with confirmation of 2009 finalist Sam Querrey and former world No 8 Jurgen Melzer, they take the number of top-30 players for next year's tournament to a total of seven.
Haas was recently named ATP comeback player of the year as he rocketed from outside the top 200 to reach a ranking of 21, while Kohlschreiber has had his best season yet.
After making the semifinals in Auckland (where he lost to Olivier Rochus), Kohlschreiber went on to his fourth tour title in Munich, made the quarterfinals at Wimbledon and reached a career-high ranking of 16.
Heineken Open tournament director Karl Budge said he was excited about the number of players coming to Auckland who are in some of the best form of their careers, including defending champion David Ferrer of Spain who remains the biggest threat to the big four at the top of the men's game.
Heineken NZ National Sponsorship Manager Peter Wills said they were delighted with the depth of the main draw for the tournament.
"With David returning to defend his title, along with former world No 2 Tommy Haas, and the number of rising stars in the field, this certainly bodes well for the future of the tournament. It would truly be a momentous occasion if David can win his fourth Auckland title, equalling the great Roy Emerson's achievement."
Haas was a finalist in Auckland in 1999 and since then he has gone on to win 13 titles and make four Grand Slam semifinals.
"To get back to 21 in the world is a great feat," said Budge who added that Kohlschreiber was also playing "his best tennis yet".
Querrey, who will be making his fourth visit to Auckland, collected one of the biggest wins of his career last month when he knocked over Novak Djokovic at the Paris Masters.
World no. 5 Ferrer (Spain) is the tournament's top seed, followed by Kohlschreiber (20), Haas (21), USA's Querrey (22), Poland's Janowicz (26), Austria's Melzer (29) and ATP newcomer of the year Klizan of Slovakia (30).
Also announced today was Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci who sits just outside the top 30 at 33 in the world. He will be playing in Auckland for the fifth time.
Former world no.7 Mardy Fish has had to withdraw from the tournament for health reasons.
The 2013 field has a cut-off at a world ranking of 61, and includes players from 14 nations.
Budge also welcomed a new major sponsor to the tournament family today with BMW coming on board.
"It is really positive to see one of the world's most premium brands seeing the value in partnering with our two iconic summer events".
The 2013 Heineken Open runs from January 7-12 at Auckland's Stanley Street tennis centre.
Heineken Open full field (with world ranking): 5 David Ferrer (Spain), 20 Philipp Kohlschreiber (Germany), 21 Tommy Haas (Germany), 22 Sam Querrey (USA), 26 Jerzy Janowicz (Poland), 29 Jurgen Melzer (Austria), 30 Martin Klizan (Slovakia),33 Thomaz Bellucci (Brazil), 46 David Goffin (Belgium), 47 Benoit Paire (France), 50 Albert Ramos (Spain), 51 Lukas Lacko (Slovakia), 54 Alejando Falla (Colombia), 55 Grega Zemlja (Slovenia), 56 Robin Haase (Netherlands), 57 Santiago Giraldo (Colombia), 59 Yen-Hsun Lu (Chinese Taipei), 60 Go Soeda (Japan), 61 Brian Baker (USA). Plus 2 wildcards TBC.
- © Fairfax NZ News