2 Nov 2012

David Ferrer again the headline act in Auckland

8:09 am on 2 November 2012

The world tennis number five and defending champion David Ferrer is to return to contest January's New Zealand Open and chase a record-equalling third straight title.

If the Spaniard wins it'll be his fourth success at the tournament and will equal the three times straight that Australian great Roy Emerson won the event between 1965 and 1967.

Ferrer's won six titles this year.

The tournament director Karl Budge says he's delighted to again secure Ferrer, and he's unrepentant at having the same player headline the tournament for a third straight year.

Auckland is very much a warmup tournament for the Australian Open in Melbourne, so having Ferrer keep coming back is a great advertisement as far as Budge is concerned.

He says Ferrer is a popular figure in Auckland and he feels comfortable starting his season here each year and his loyalty's outstanding considering how much more money he could make at bigger rival tournaments over the Tasman.

Budge says the fact such a top player keeps coming back can only help secure other top players.

Ferrer is joined by the top American player Mardy Fish and Belgian rookie David Goffin, and Budge says he's confident of being able to announce some more top 20 or top 30 players in the coming weeks.

Fish, like Ferrer a 30-year-old veteran, is now ranked 26th in the world while Goffin had a stellar year in which he went from 174 in the world up to a ranking of 42, and the 21-year-old even took a set off Roger Federer at Roland Garros in the round of 16.