12/11/12 4:09 AM | Johan Lindahl
Australian fans will have to suck it up as new national No. 1 Marinko Matosevic is replaced by Spain's Nicolas Almagro in the field for the Adelaide pre-Australian Open exhibition next month.
Despite the lure of some easy money, Matosevic decided to try and capitalize on the rise in his ranking to 49th by working for ATP points that week at the Sydney event.
Tournament co-director Mark Woodforde tried to make an ungainly situation look good. "Matosevic has decided his best course of action prior to the Australian Open is to try to gain ATP rankings points and he will now play in Sydney where we wish him the best of luck."
Officials at the grandly named World Tennis Challenge now have the huge task of trying to spice up the image of the dour Almagro, an anonymous No. 11 who lost the final rubber in Spain's Davis Cup defeat by the Czech Republic.
He joins fellow pros David Ferrer of Spain, Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka, Alexandr Dolgopolov of the Ukraine and Serbia's Viktor Troicki--who has just taken on Dolgopolov's former Australian coach Jack Reader--in the field of the January 8-10 event at Memorial Drive.
"I'm very much looking forward to playing in the in Adelaide. For me, the opportunity to play some great tennis against some of the world's best, as well as the chance to play alongside tennis legends is a perfect lead in to the Australian Open," Almagro said in a statement.
Woodforde could not escape spin mode as he added: "The 2013 current player line-up is sensational for the event. To have three in the top 20 is the strongest field we've had and it will certainly make for incredible tennis at Memorial Drive.
"We've been talking to Nicolas Almagro for a while as he had indicated his interest in coming to Adelaide as part of his preparation for the Australian Open. For him it was about having access to playing against the caliber of other three current players - as well as enjoy the matches with the legends of the game."
The tournament, which replaced an ATP event in the city which was moved to Brisbane in a power play several seasons ago by Tennis Australia, will add women for the first time in the form of the two Martinas, Navratilova and Hingis, plus ex-players Mats Wilander, Pat Cash, Yannick Noah, Henri Leconte and Mansour Bahrami.
Find the latest tennis odds at Unibet.com
|1. Djokovic||12 500 pts|
|2. Murray||8 750 pts|
|3. Federer||8 670 pts|
|4. Ferrer||6 970 pts|
|5. Nadal||6 385 pts|
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