Fans guide to the week ahead: Monday Dec 29
Originally published on: 26/02/10 15:06
Theres still a full seven days before fans can get their teeth into truly competitive tournament tennis again, but at least theres a couple of exhibition events towards the end of the week to keep us going.
Capitala World Tennis Championship
When? 1-3 January
Where? Abu Dhabi International Tennis Complex at Zayed Sports City, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Surface? Outdoor hard (Plexipave)
Prizemoney? The winner walks away with a cool US$250,000.
Big names? You can say that again. With the likes of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Andy Murray, Nikolay Davydenko, Andy Roddick and James Blake in attendance there must be no shortage of appearance cheques featuring lots of zeros. Never before have I started a tennis year as early as the one ahead, Federer said. I will be back in action on Jan 1.” Roger must be feeling the credit crunch.
Draw size? Just the six definitely a case of quality, not quantity! The half dozen are split into a quarter-final draw and top two seeds Nadal and Federer have byes into the semis. Davydenko will play Roddick with the winner taking on Nadal in the semis, while Murray faces Blake for the honour of facing Fed in the last four.
Sub-plot? We say read little into exhibitions. More interesting will be the events of the following week when Nadal, Federer and Murray all begin their 2009 tournament schedules by playing the ATP event in Doha. Whoever comes out on top in Qatar will have a psychological edge at the Aussie Open which begins soon after.
Hyundai Hopman Cup XXI
When? 3-9 Jan
Where? Burswood Dome, Perth, Australia
Surface? Outdoor hard
Draw size? Eight two-player mixed teams split into two groups of four. Each nation plays three matches and the two group winners face off in Fridays final.
Big names? Yes actually plenty. Meghann Shaughnessy and James Blake line up for the US, Casey Dellacqua and Lleyton Hewitt represent the Aussies, Sabine Lisicki and Nicolas Kiefer are there for Germany, Dominika Cibulkova and Dominik Hrbaty wear the Slovak Republic colours, brother-sister act Dinara Safina and Marat Safin line up for the Russians, Alize Cornet and Gilles Simon comprise team France, Flavia Pennetta and Simone Bolelli will be hoping to do it for Italy and Su-Wei Hsieh and Yen-Hsun Lu represent Chinese Taipei.
2008 champion? USA
Sub-plot? Again, one shouldnt read too much into what effectively is an exhibition, but itll be interesting to see the all new Lleyton Hewitt back in action following hip surgery in August.