David Ferrer and Ernests Gulbis confirmed for Heineken Open
World number five, and four-time Heineken Open Champion, David Ferrer has today been confirmed for the 2015 Heineken Open, along with crowd-pleaser, ErnestsGulbis.
Auckland has fought off stiff competition from a number of tournaments in Australia to secure the services of the ever-reliable Spaniard, who is the highest ranked player competing globally that week. Ferrer has had another blinding season, winning over $2 million in prize money and picking up a title in Buenos Aires, runner up in Hamburg and Cincinnati, and reaching the semi-finals in Monte Carlo and Madrid.
“David Ferrer just keeps getting stronger. It’s been another great year for him, and I know how keen he is to get back here for a shot at his fifth title,” says Tournament Director, Karl Budge.
Joining Ferrer is the entertaining Latvian, Ernests Gulbis. Long-considered one of the next generation of players to lead the ATP, 2014 has seen Gulbis deliver on that potential. He has won two titles in Nice and Marseille, where he defeated Jo Wilfred-Tsonga in the final, and made the semi-finals in both Barcelona and Kuala Lumpur, peaking at number 10 in the world (currently 13).
It was Roland Garros however where he made his biggest statement. Having already knocked out sixth seed Tomáš Berdych in the Round of 16, he overcame Roger Federer in five sets to reach his first ever Grand Slam semi-final. Comparisons have been made to Marat Safin both in his play and fiery personality on court. Off-court, the perennial joker will no doubt keep media on their toes with his off-beat comments.
“Auckland has a great reputation on the tour, and coming down to New Zealand is a pretty cool way to kick off 2015,” says Gulbis.
“I’ve had a career-best year in 2014 so am hoping we can go bigger in 2015. The Heineken Open suits me and I can’t wait to get out there.”
Gulbis and Ferrer join defending champion, John Isner, in an impressive Heineken Open field. Currently ranked world number 15, the American giant has had a solid year. After lifting his eighth ATP World Tour trophy at the Heineken Open, he went on to reach the semi-finals of the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Indian Wells, and the quarter-finals at Wimbledon. The 29-year-old also reached top 10 in March.
“To have three players inside the world’s top 15 already locked away is amazing. There is no question the 2015 Heineken Open is going to be one of the strongest fields ever assembled. We have a few other players up our sleeve as well that we will announce over the coming weeks,” teased Budge.
“As the title sponsor of the Heineken Open, we are delighted with the announcement of David Ferrer and Ernests Gulbis. With Ferrer being the only top 10 player playing our week; it is fantastic that he is coming back to Auckland in a bid to win his 5th Heineken Open title. And up-and-coming players such as Gulbis make for such great entertainment, on and off the court,” says Heineken Marketing Manager, Jennie Macindoe.
2015 marks the second year of the NZ Festival of Tennis – a celebration of tennis, music and some of Auckland’s best restaurants. The Heineken Baseline gives tennis fans a spot to soak up some sun, listen to some of new Zealand’s best artists and catch the best action on the big screen – all for just $20.
“Heineken is New Zealand’s most premium beer brand, and the world over, Heineken is only involved with the most premium sporting events, delivering world class experiences,” Macindoe continues.