kooyong lawn tennis club


The eight-man field at the Kooyong Classic exhibition in Melbourne, Australia is now set with Ivan Ljubicic rounding out the draw.

Winners from the first round advance onto the semi-finals while losers are relegated to the consolation side and are still guaranteed at least one other match. This is another reason why the unsanctioned tournament is such a drawing card for those looking for some extra preparation for the Australian Open. Players are sure of facing some top-level competition with the opportunity to work things out in their games despite the possibility of an early loss.

The opening round this year has the following battles:

Novak Djokovic vs Tommy Haas

Fernando Gonzalez vs Fernando Verdasco

Robin Soderling vs Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Juan Martin Del Potro vs Ivan Ljubicic

The Kooyong Classic began in 1988, the year the Australian Open was moved from the Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club to its current location at Melbourne Park. The move was enacted to facilitate the growing need for space at the Open.

Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi were frequent visitors in the 1990s, with Agassi making the finals for five consecutive years from 2000-2004. Interestingly enough, the years that Agassi won in Kooyong (2000, 2001, 2003) were also years he managed to win the Aussie Open. No wonder why in recent editions of the tournament we’ve seen players likeFederer, Andy Murray and Andy Roddick show up!

Federer won the tournament a year ago over compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka, but chose not to join the field for the 2010 edition. It is still a possibility that the world number one may stop by to play a friendly match outside of the established tournament format.

The tournament runs from January 13-16th.