Apia International Sydney Preview

Nsw Tennis Centre

Tennis
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Published: 08/01/2012

The NSW Tennis Centre will once again play host to the Apia International Sydney in January 2012 as many of the best players on the ATP Tour step up their preparations for the Australian Open at the end of the month.

With the first Grand Slam event of the year nearing ever closer, it will be paramount for competitors to attain court and match fitness in Sydney ahead of the action in Melbourne whilst picking up silverware along the way will be seen as a huge bonus and confidence booster for the subsequent weeks to come.

Twenty-eight players will line-up in the draw with the top four seed obtaining automatic byes through to the second round.

2011 winner Gilles Simon will bid to retain his title this year however the Frenchman will not be taking centre stage after his slump down to No.41 in the World Rankings.

The headline act and likely favourite will be 2009 US Open winner Juan Martin Del Potro who is being tipped for big things in 2012 following his recovery season last year.

The Argentine, who was ranked as high as fifth in the world, suffered a major wrist injury towards the end of 2010 and subsequently missed months of action on the tour whilst trying to recuperate.

After a significant slide down the world order, Del Potro managed to find his feet again in 2011 recording two titles on the ATP Tour as well as strong showings at the main events.

Providing Del Potro can pick things up from where he left off at the end of last year, he will be a worthy favourite for the Apia International Sydney and can get his campaign off to a flying start.

Del Potro’s biggest threat could come in the shape of lanky American John Isner who generally thrives on fast, hard courts and may well put a lot of players struggling for early match fitness under pressure with his huge serve and forehand.

Isner has himself made good progress up the rankings over the past two seasons into the top 20 and the same can also be said of Frenchman Richard Gasquet who has fought his way back from a rankings slump after serving a ban for substance abuse.

It is hard to believe that Gasquet is still only 24 and there could be a lot to come from him in 2012, potentially starting in Sydney amongst a line-up which will sadly be devoid of the world’s top four players.

Of the remaining participants, Serbian Viktor Troicki could make his presence felt if in the same form as 2011 whilst Aussie Lleyton Hewitt is likely to be as combative as ever on his home turf.

The 2002 Wimbledon champion and former World No.1 has been struggling for quite some time on the ATP Tour however he will be as determined as ever to roll back the years and reproduce some of his best form – something which he definitely has a good chance of doing at likely odds of around 20/1.


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