Earlier this week it was announced that Slovakian player, and former French Open finalist Dominik Hrbaty was retiring after the exhibition match he played with Thomas Muster, Dominika Cibulkova and Anna Kournikova.
Hrbaty’s wife is due to give birth to their child in December and the former pro has said he wants to spend more time with the new edition.
“I’m looking forward to a new chapter. I want to spend more time with my family, we’re expecting a baby late December.”
Hrbaty achieved a career high ranking of number 12 in 2004 and won 6 ATP titles.
>The top three seeds, Gael Monfils, David Ferrer and Feliciano Lopez, have survived round one of the SA Open with two other seeds falling. Marco Chiudinelli (4th seed) and Xavier Malisse (6th seed) did not survive their first round matches of the hard court tournament.
Despite a promising start, winning the first set 6-1, Lopez then lost the second set tie break, finally winning the third and the match 6-1, 6-7, 6-3 in just over 2 hours.
Monfils won his match in straight sets over Dominik Hrbaty 6-2, 6-1. David Ferrer also progressed with a straight sets win 6-1, 7-5 over Karol Beck.
In his post match presser Lopez noted the difficult conditions with altitude causing difficulty maintaining his initial intensity. Compatriot David Ferrer also mentioned the altitude creating a difficult situations for the players saying “maybe with altitude we have more mistakes than with level of sea.” A tired looking Ferrer player with his wrist taped.
“It’s a hot day today and with the altitude also it was a tough for me after the first set to keep playing the same way and to be on the court with the same intensity I think. After 45 minutes I was little bit tired because I could not breathe really good because of the air but hopefully it’s going to get better.” Feli Lopez.
Monfils, on the other hand, coped better with the conditions saying that while he was initially concerned the altitude didn’t bother him much and that he feels he’s playing well enough to win the tournament.
“I had a good game and hope to continue this form throughout the week as my ambition is to emulate compatriot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and win the title.” Gael Monfils.
Lopez next faces top Slovenian playe Blaz Kavcic in their first meeting.
>The SA Open has kicked off in Johannesburg after the players did a bit of sightseeing. 3rd seed Feli Lopez enjoyed some wildlife experiences including a safari while 1st seed Gael Monfils had a more historical journey. Lopez is making his debut in the SA Open tournament. Fellow Spaniard David Ferrer is also playing the SA Open.
Monfils fed his love for soccer, travelling to Soweto with police escort to the stadium that will be the site of the opening and closing game for the 2010 FIFA world cup, later posting photos on his twitter site. He also visited the home Nelson Mandela lived in before he was imprisoned in 1962.
“I do like the Nelson Mandela story and what he came from and what he made, so for me it was one of my biggest experiences in my small life, and I wish maybe one day I will come back with my parents to show them exactly this, because this is very good.” – Gael Monfils
Monfils kicks off the Tuesday night entertainment against Dominik Hrbaty. According to Monfils’ Twitter page he has been practicing with Feli Lopez.
Last years winner, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is not defending his title this year.