Ferrer, Lopez at SA Open?
David Ferrer (Gallo Images)
Spaniards David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez might attend the R3,5-million South African Open tennis tournament at Montecasino early next year.
Lopez is the defending SA Open champion. Ferrer, who is ranked seventh in the world, will compete in the ATP's World Championships in London next week.
"Although negotiations have yet to be finalised, Lopez has told us he wants to defend his title and Ferrer has made it clear that he would like to play in the South African Open for a third successive year," SA Tennis Association CEO and tournament director Ian Smith said on Tuesday.
Ferrer and Lopez were not only world-class players, but charismatic personalities who made a major impact during the two previous tournaments at Montecasino, he said.
"We are hoping to formalise their entries shortly, as well as those of a number of other notable world-class players with whom I have been negotiating."
Smith said that, in the past, players had been reluctant to take part in the SA Open because it was immediately after the Australian Open grand slam tournament.
However, the two previous events had made such a favourable impression on players, that interest was growing in leaps and bounds.
The SA Open will take place from January 31 to February 6 and is an ATP event which offers 250 valuable world-ranking points to the winner.
Smith said schoolchildren would be bused to the tournament this year as part of a development programme.