The 2015 edition of the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur will once again provide the ultimate stage for rising Malaysian tennis players to compete against the world’s best, The Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia (LTAM) and organisers IMG today announced that four young Malaysians will receive wild cards into the USD$1,041,540 tournament to be held from September 26 to October 4 at Putra Stadium, Kuala Lumpur.
Receiving the singles qualifying wild cards are 21-year-old Syed Mohd Agil Syed Naguib, 20-year-old Ahmad Deedat Abdul Razak and 26-year-old Mohd Ashaari Zainal Abidin, while 20-year-old Mohd Assri Merzuki will join forces with current Malaysia No.1 Mohd Agil in the main draw of the doubles.
The steadily improving local players have consistently featured as wild card players in the Malaysian Open since the tournament’s inception seven years ago. In 2013 Mohd Ashaari’s enjoyed a historic first win for a Malaysian on the ATP World Tour with his first round qualifying victory over Italian Enrico Becuzzi 6-0, 6-2.
The exposure has nevertheless proved invaluable for the improving Davis Cup team and recent results have given local fans reason to believe that 2015 offers the best chance to finally see a Malaysian battle into the singles main draw.
The local wild card recipients come into the tournament fresh off an impressive bronze medal winning performance in the recently concluded 28th Southeast Asian Games held in Singapore.
Meanwhile, the country’s two top ranked singles players – Mohd Agil and Ahmed Deedat – had exchanged final victories over each other in Leg 1 and Leg 3 of the Malaysian Circuit to claim their first titles of the year.
Deedat capped off his best season to date with another final triumph over Agil to clinch the Kuala Lumpur Open last month.
The 20-year-old youngster had also picked up his first career ATP points during April’s Indonesian Futures and comes into the Malaysian Open at a career high ATP ranking of 2095.
His compatriot Mohd Agil is slightly higher up the rankings at No. 2013, – a main draw appearance by any of these two will see them propel even further up the rankings.
Meanwhile, wild card pairing Assri Merzuki and Mohd Agil will be desperate for a kind draw in the doubles if they are to achieve a historic first round victory.
The duo can, however, look towards their strong outing at the Iran F13 last December, where they made the last 16 in their first appearance as doubles partners, as a sign of their growing chemistry and potential to upset more established pairings.
“With the rising standards of our players, we are excited that our local boys will again benefit from a full main draw doubles wildcard and three additional qualifying wild cards. The experience gained playing against the highest level of world class ATP professionals is priceless, as we continue our journey of producing our own world-class player who will hold his own on the ATP World Tour both here in Kuala Lumpur and at Tour events internationally,” said Tan Sri Datuk Abdul Razak Latiff, President of LTAM.
For the second year running, Malaysia will boast two ATP World Tour ranked players participating in the tournament, a prime example of the benefits of the tournament’s development initiatives and even more so, the overall efforts of LTAM and the Ministry of Youth & Sports to raise the level of tennis in Malaysia.
Tournament Director and Senior Vice President, IMG, Head of Tennis Asia, Nick Freyer, praised the prospering talents of the Malaysian boys, who have shown significant growth in their level of play and tournament results. Combined with recent results of some of the Malaysian juniors on the international stage there are positive winds blowing through Malaysian tennis which will only get stronger.
In a related development that seeks to broaden the exposure of local youngsters to tennis and sports generally, the tournament has turbocharged its signature schools programme where school children and university students from around the Greater KL area and beyond, are invited to the tournament for an afternoon of tennis entertainment. Elements include time spent watching the tennis, enjoying tennis related games in the interactive area, and meeting players in person for autograph sessions. With the support of the Ministry of Education, 10,000 students have been targeted with over 8,800 having already signed up for the ongoing programme.
Once again the Malaysian Open, Kuala Lumpur is making the event affordable for all Malaysians. Entry from Saturday 26 September to Tuesday 29 September is free. Thereafter tickets will be between RM10 to RM620. Tickets can be purchased now on-line via the tournament website www.MalaysianOpenTennis.com, at TicketCharge outlets or through the ticket hotline at TicketCharge Ph: 603-9222 8811.
The tournament would like to thank its suite of official sponsors. In addition to the distinguished support of the Event Patron, the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia and Tourism Malaysia, Ministry of Education as well as the Ministry of Youth & Sports, the event is proud to have prestigious commercial sponsors that include KPJ Healthcare Berhad, Rado, CNN International, the DoubleTree by Hilton Kuala Lumpur, Wilson, 100 Plus, the Albukhary Foundation, Astro and the ATP World Tour’s Premier Partner Corona.
For more information on the tournament, visit www.MalaysianOpenTennis.com or https://www.facebook.com/MalaysianOpen.KualaLumpur or https://twitter.com/KLopentennis.