He won the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur in its inaugural year, and he won the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur in its second year… and now they are both coming back to try and keep the title in Russian hands.
Tournament Director Nick Freyer of organizers IMG, today announced that the 2009 Champion Nikolay Davydenko and the 2010 Champion Mikhail Youzhny will be returning to Putra Stadium, Bukit Jalil, 24 September to 2 October, 2011. They will take on the already announced ATP World Tour stars that include Serbian Davis Cup hero’s Viktor Troicki (No. 15) and Janko Tipsarevic (No. 25), two-time Wimbledon doubles Champion Jurgen Melzer (No. 18), and fast rising Australian teenager and 2011 Wimbledon quarter-finalist, Bernard Tomic.
“A tournament always feels touched when past Champions decide to return, and of course we are delighted that both “Niko” and “Misha” are coming back to KL,” Freyer said. “This is a place where I know they feel very comfortable and where we enjoy having them as our guests – they are firm favorites with the tournament staff.”
“Malaysian fans will I am sure welcome back their past Champions, both of whom are gentlemen, with a sense of humor and who have achieved so much. It is entirely possible, either player, or maybe even both, will be seen in action on Sunday, October 2, finals day.”
Davydenko, a 21-time winner on the ATP World Tour and a six time finalist, and who plays more tournaments than almost anyone else, remains one of the toughest players in the world. The 30-year-old is a crafty opponent with outstanding endurance and determination – he is a very difficult player to beat at any time and on any surface.
He has been ranked at a career high of No. 3 in the world and has beaten all of the best players. Now ranked No. 30 because a number of injury bouts kept him off the tour last year, he is still just as determined every time he walks out on court. This year he won the title in Munich which was his 21st career title, and he reached the final in Dubai, his 27th career final, defeating Rafael Nadal en route.
“Any player who does well at a tournament likes to go back to that tournament,” Davydenko said. “There must be reason you do well there so you like to get that reason back. I feel this in Kuala Lumpur. Everybody was very nice there. I like the hotel (the Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur) very much, my wife likes the shopping mall next door very much - this is why I had to win the tournament.”
This will be his third straight year at the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur. The 2009 season-ending ATP World Tour Finals and Shanghai Masters 1000 Champion, has won titles in Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and the Middle East.
Youzhny meanwhile is an incredibly fit individual, and tennis fans have come to expect him to do his trade-mark salute whenever he wins a match. Last year at the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur, then ranked in the world’s top-ten, he was happy to oblige four times (def. Alexandr Dolgopolov, Marcos Baghdatis, Igor Andreev and Andrey Golubev in a brilliant three-set final) as he put his racquet on his head and with his other hand saluted to the different sections of the crowd. He did double duty last year and also reached the semi-finals of the doubles with partner Sergiy Stakhovsky.
The 29-year-old Muscovite is currently ranked No. 14 and is close to his career high ranking of No. 8. He has won seven career singles titles and eight career doubles titles and has reached 10 other singles finals. In 2011, he has made the semis of Gstaad last weekend, Hamburg and Marseille where he beat Gilles Simon and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in back-to-back matches, a quarter-finalist at Rotterdam and made the last 16 at Wimbledon.
“I am looking forward to coming back to Kuala Lumpur because I have good time there last year and everyone, they look after me so nicely,” Youzhny said from Switzerland where he was playing last weekend. The stadium was very good to play in and the people were nice and the buildings in the city are amazing. The two buildings with the bridge (the famous Petronas Towers) are incredible. I had not been to Malaysia before so did not know what to expect – and was very nicely surprised.”
For more information and updates on the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur 2011, please log on to www.MalaysianOpenTennis.com.