The names are in and the field is now set.
Tournament organisers of the Chengdu Open has announced the final three players to join John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, Michael Chang, Mats Wilander and Marcelo Rios.
Tournament Director Nick Freyer said Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic, French Open champion Sergi Bruguera and Australian Open finalist Thomas Enqvist will complete the eight-man field.
Incredible line-up, huh?
Never before have eight greats of the game played a Champions Tour event in China but from November 5 to 8, 2009, the Sichuan International Tennis Center is going to be abuzz with excitement and entertainment.
“Between them they had won a total of 26 Grand Slam crowns, now with Goran, Sergi and Thomas part of the group that amazing tally has increased to a staggering 29 Grand Slam titles," Nick Freyer said.
“It is indeed an incredibly unique situation for any host city to be in and Chengdu and its sporting fans is privileged to be able to watch tennis from some of the most iconic players ever. The four days at the Sichuan International Tennis Centre will be something to remember.”
Every one of the eight players reached a career high ranking of at least four in the world while four of the eight players reached the absolute summit: world no. 1: Borg, McEnroe, Rios and Wilander.
Personally, Ivanisevic is one of the popular player which I remembered most.
He was one of the most unpredictable stars on the court because no one ever knew what they were going to get.
Ivanisevic even suggested that he had a split personality (appropriate enough since he came from the city of Split) and did not know himself if the “good Goran or the bad Goran is coming on the court”. That was part of his charm.
“I am looking forward to be in China again; I was in the final one time in Shanghai when Michael Chang beat me,” Ivanisevic said.
“It was a very good experience with the tennis fans in China and I am looking forward for the chance to play Michael again in China."
“This is an incredible draw … to have John and Bjorn and the others coming to Chengdu. It will be a fantastic experience for everyone who comes and watches. It will be a lot of fun.”
Bruguera meanwhile was considered the Rafael Nadal of his time. He was almost unbeatable on the red clay courts.
“This is my first time to play an official tournament in China because when I was playing there were no tournaments here so I am very excited to come to Chengdu,” the Spaniard said.
“To play alongside the guys that are coming is very exciting for me. I have been playing on the Champions Tour for only a short time so to see it expanding so quickly with new cities like Chengdu being part of it is very good.”
Enqvist was another tough opponent for anyone and was so typically Swedish with his persona and attitude during a match. He was always so cool and calm and it never seemed as though anything bothered him.
“I’ve loved being back playing tennis and seeing all my friends again but I will still be like the rookie at the Chengdu Open because I am just starting my new career on the Champions Tour,” Enqvist said.
“This is a new experience for me and to be playing alongside Bjorn and Mats my fellow Swedes is an honour for me and one that I am looking forward to. I didn’t think I would ever be playing a tournament with Bjorn Borg.”
The full order of play for the four days was announced by Freyer who commented that “every match is like being at a Grand Slam final”.
THURSDAY 5 NOVEMBER:
Start at 4:00 pm Group B : Rios vs Bruguera
Start not before 5:30 pm Group A : Borg vs Ivanisevic
Start not before 7:30 pm Group B : Chang vs Enqvist
Start not before 9:00 pm Group A : McEnroe vs Wilander
FRIDAY 6 NOVEMBER:
Start at 4:00 pm Group A : Borg vs Wilander
Start not before 5:30 pm Group B : Rios vs Enqvist
Start not before 7:30 pm Group A : McEnroe vs Ivanisevic
Start not before 9:00 pm Group B : Chang vs Bruguera
SATURDAY 7 NOVEMBER:
Start at 4:00 pm Group A : Ivanisevic vs Wilander
Start not before 5:30 pm Group B : Bruguera vs Enqvist
Start not before 7:30 pm Group A : McEnroe vs Borg
Start not before 9:00 pm Group B : Chang vs Rios
SUNDAY 8 NOVEMBER:
Start at 2:30 pm Group A 2nd vs Group B 2nd
Start not before 4:00 pm Group A 1st vs Group B 1st
Tickets will be available soon at www.ChengduChampions.com.