The 2014 Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur is all set for what promises to be the tournament’s best year. Putra Stadium, Bukit Jalil, September 20 to 28, 2014 will be playing host to the strongest line-up in the events’ six year history. The stars including US Open finalist Kei Nishikori, world top tenner Milos Raonic both well positioned to claim a place in the year-end ATP World Tour Finals in London, French Open semi-finalist Ernests Gulbis, Wimbledon quarterfinalist, the “½ Kampung Kid” Nick Kyrgios, defending Champion Joao Sousa and two time Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur finalist Julien Benneteau will start arriving in KL from Friday.
Tournament Director Nick Freyer of IMG has taken the opportunity announce the singles main draw wild cards and these have been awarded to Japan’s Taro Daniel, Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic who both advanced through the qualifying rounds at the US Open to make the main draw in New York, and US Open junior singles and doubles Champion, Omar Jasika of Australia.
“With the courts at Putra Stadium now complete and featuring an enhanced colour scheme for 2014, our final wild cards allocated, Kei, Milos, Ernests, Nick and the other players ready to rumble and the public response encouraging, we look forward to showcasing a Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur that is worthy of Visit Malaysia Year 2014."
The awarding of Daniel with a wild card continues the trend of the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur in assisting players from Asia to make inroads on the ATP World Tour. In the past, the tournament has been of help to Nishikori, India’s Yuki Bhambri who plays Davis Cup for India and 18 year old Junior Wimbledon finalist Hyeon Chung of Korea. All four qualifying wild cards, along with a slot in the main draw of the doubles, feature Malaysian players.
This year Daniel was a quarterfinalist at the Tour event in Vina Del Mar while on the Challenger Circuit he was finalist in Seville and a quarterfinalist in Rome, Vancouver and Sarasota. His efforts continue a strong showing for Japanese tennis no doubt inspired by the top-ten rise of Nishikori. Krajinovic, who has been taken under the wing of world No.1 Novak Djokovic, was instrumental in Serbia’s Davis Cup victory last weekend. This year he has won two Challengers and was a finalist at one more. He also qualified and made the last 16 of the Tour event in Hamburg.
The third and final main draw wild card has been awarded to Omar Jasika, a left-handed 17 year old from Australia who scored quite a milestone at the recent US Open. He became only the second boy and the first since 1986 to win the singles and doubles junior events in the same year.
Jasika is yet another young name from Australia starting to make a mark and joins Nick Kyrgios, Bernard Tomic and Marinko Matosevic, all of whom feature in the tournament singles main draw, and who have breathed new life and optimism into tennis down under.
Speaking from Australia, Omar Jasika said, “Coming so soon after the good results in New York, I am really appreciative of the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur for this special opportunity. Perhaps in a small way it might be symbolic of the warm relations between Malaysia and Australia, as might be, the tournament attracting so many top Aussies for what I believe is actually Visit Malaysia Year.”
The final qualifying wild card is also announced. The coaches and Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia (LTAM) have decided that the fourth qualifying wild card should go to 16 year old up and coming Malaysian player Koay Hao Sheng who hails from Kedah.
There tournament schedule will see that one of Nishikori or Raonic play their opening game as the featured match on Wednesday and Thursday, and Kyrgios will play his first singles match on Monday or Tuesday. The teenager and his Malaysian born mother will hold a “Town Hall” style meeting on Centre Court on Wednesday at 7pm, at Putra Stadium followed by a public autograph session.
Nishikori will be holding a public autograph session at the Pavilion KL, Level 3, on Sunday, September 21 at 5PM, where 150 lucky fans will have the opportunity to get his autograph in person, on a first come, first served basis.
The Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur is also thrilled to announce that Nishikori’s coach Michael Chang will be travelling with him and the Grand Slam champion has agreed to conduct a special clinic for the Malaysian Davis Cup team and team coaches on Thursday morning, September 25th. The program will provide a unique training insight that focusses on strategy, mental conditioning and “how to be a champion”, and is part of the tournaments’ efforts to raise the standard of tennis in Malaysia. This is in addition to the traditional LTAM elite kids clinic with two ATP professionals that takes place on the same morning.
“We are really delighted to have Michael with us and his insight is going to be a massive benefit to the coaches from the Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia and the Davis Cup team,” said the Davis Cup team and coaches in a combined message of thanks. “Michael Chang’s work ethic and incredible mind took him to the top of world, something he and Dante Bottini are now doing with Kei, and Malaysian tennis will certainly benefit from this unique teaching opportunity.”
The tournament is proud to welcome back its suite of official sponsors. In addition to the distinguished support of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia and Tourism Malaysia as well as the Ministry of Youth & Sports, the event is proud to have prestigious commercial sponsors that include Rado, CNN International, the DoubleTree by Hilton Kuala Lumpur, Wilson, the Albukhary Foundation, Astro, the ATP World Tour’s Premier Partner Corona, as well as welcome on board KPJ Healthcare Berhad, making its first foray into sponsorship of professional tennis. Other supplier level sponsors include House Restaurant, Cream & Fudge, Pizza Hut, 100Plus, KFC and KiekLover.KL.
Tickets prices remain very reasonable and range from RM 10 to RM 160. There will be free admission between Saturday, September 20 and Tuesday, September 23.
Tickets can be purchased now on-line via http://www.malaysianopentennis.com/2014/tickets.php