31 Dec 2008

Nishikori gets wildcard for Heineken Open

6:42 am on 31 December 2008

One of the rising stars of world tennis and a real hero in his own country has been granted a main draw wildcard to next month's Heineken Open in Auckland.

Japan's Kei Nishikori, the world's 63rd ranked player, has been confirmed as a wildcard for the tournament, which starts on the 12th of January.

Nishikori, aged 18, is highly regarded around the world and has already proved his worth with an ATP tournament title to his credit.

One Heineken Open main draw wildcard has previously been awarded to New Zealand number one Rubin Statham while the top seeds for the tournament are Argentine Juan Martin del Potro at number 9 followed by former champion David Ferrer of Spain at 12.

Sweden's Robin Soderling will be the third seed with a ranking of 17 while another Spaniard, Nicolas Almagro rounds out the top four seeds at No18 in the world.