Johannesburg - Perpetual motion David Ferrer, a member of the Spanish tennis squad along with Rafael Nadal, Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez, who will contest the Davis Cup Final against The Czech Republic next month, will be jetting in for the South African Open at the Montecasino Entertainment Centre from February 1 to 7.
The announcement on Wednesday of the world's 18th-ranked Ferrer's return to Johannesburg for the R3,5-million ATP event, elevates the number of top 20 players confirmed for the tournament to two - with the charismatic 13th-ranked Gael Monfils previously giving notice of his intention to play in South Africa.
Ferrer, regarded as one of the fittest and speediest players on the ATP circuit, was the second seed in this year's South African Open and reached the semi-finals before suffering a surprise defeat against up-and-coming Frenchman Jeremy Chardy.
Ferrer has won seven career ATP titles and has been ranked as high as fourth in the world.
Although he failed to win a tournament in 2009, he reached the finals of both the Barcelona and Dubai Opens and gained a decisive victory over the in-form world number three Novak Djokovic when Spain beat Serbia in the Davis Cup on their way to the final.
He avenged the defeat against Chardy at the Indian Wells Masters tournament and was only halted by formidable fellow-Spaniard Nadal, in the Barcelona Open Final.
"It is an honour to have Ferrer back in South Africa," said South African Tennis Association CEO and tournament director Ian Smith.
"His never-say-die approach, speed round the court and engaging personality makes him a major attraction."
And when asked about which other top players would be consigned to the rejuvenated South Africa Open, the Sata CEO commented meaningfully: "Just watch this space. We are negotiating with several other stars and will be making further announcements shortly."
Tickets for the South African Open are already on sale at all Computicket outlets and the Montecasino Box office.