Former Champs Haas, Nishikori Join Delray Beach Field
December 3, 2012 · Print This Article
Former champions Tommy Haas and Kei Nishikori have signed on to play in the 2013 Delray Beach International Tennis Championships (ITC), giving the tournament five former champions in its ATP World Tour field.
Haas, the 2006 champion, and Nishikori, who began his ascent to the Top 20 with his first career win in the 2008 ITC, will join Mardy Fish (2009) and the world’s top-ranked doubles duo of Mike Bryan and Bob Bryan (2009, 2010) in returning to the tournament where they have won titles.
Add top-ranked American John Isner to the mix, and excitement is evident when tournament director Mark Baron discusses the 2013 event. “Not only are these guys returning champions, but all of them, plus John Isner, have spent time in the Top 20 this year,” says Baron. “We will see more Top 20 players on the courts in Delray Beach in 2013 than any other year in our history.”
The ITC is also returning two of its ATP Champions Tour event champions – Carlos Moya (2012) and Mark Philippoussis (2011) – giving fans the opportunity to see seven former champions in the ITC’s two events. Both the ATP World Tour and the ATP Champions Tour tournaments play during the same week – the only event in the world to combine both Tours into a single event.
Haas recently won the ATP’s 2012 “Comeback Player of the Year” award after an improbable run back to the Top 20 from his third career-threatening injury. Ranked No. 896 in 2010 following hip surgery, the 34-year-old fought back to finish the 2012 season with a 31-16 record and a No. 21 world ranking. He won his 13th career ATP title and capped the season with his 500th career ATP match win.
After reaching No. 2 in the world during the 2002 season, Haas’ career was on the ropes after he missed all of 2003 following shoulder surgery. He was the ATP’s “Comeback Player of the Year” in 2004 after fighting back to the Top 20, but the shoulder required more surgery in 2007. Once again he reached the Top 20 in 2010, only to miss 14 months over the next two years with the hip injury.
“I just want to enjoy that moment of going out on the court, in front of a crowd, and have that feeling of a little pressure and wanting to win,” Haas told Deuce Magazine at the beginning of 2012.
Nishikori also enjoyed a stellar 2012 season with a 37-18 singles record and a career-high No. 19 ranking. He won his second ATP title (at the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo), and reached the quarter-finals in the Australian Open and the London 2012 Olympics. In addition to his ‘08 title in Delray Beach, which helped earn him the ATP’s 2008 “Newcomer of the Year Award,” the 22-year-old was an ITC semi-finalist in 2011. Nishikori is one of two qualifiers to win ITC titles in tournament history.