BY GODWIN AIKIGBE
World number one Rafael Nadal says he is excited for the Wednesday’s Tie Break Tens at Margaret Court Arena, as he joins the field for an exciting new tennis event in the lead up to Australian Open 2018.
The Spaniard issued a statement on Instagram after a practice session at Rod Laver Arena on Friday.
He stated: “Already in Melbourne! Practiced today at #rodlaverarena and also excited for the #tiebreaktens coming up on Wednesday 10th!”
Tie Break Tens, which is effectively a tournament in a night, will make its Australian debut at Margaret Court Arena (MCA) on Wednesday 10 January boasting a stunning field.
Nadal will join former world No.1 Novak Djokovic, three-time Slam winner and world No.9 Stan Wawrinka, Australia’s No.1 male Nick Kyrgios, former world No.1 and current Australian Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt as the headline acts for the unique event in which a field of eight players compete in a knockout tournament for a $250,000 winner-take-all prize purse and the coveted Tie Break Tens trophy.
Nadal, who regretfully withdrew from the Brisbane International and FAST4 in Sydney because of the late start to his off-season preparation following his all-conquering return to World No.1 last year, has signed on to Tie Break Tens to help him get ready for the Australian Open.
“Tie Break Tens is a great concept and we will see and play some exciting matches,” Nadal told the tournament’s website. “The field is fantastic and I expect some tough competition which will be great for the Aussie fans.” Each match is a super tie break to 10, which enables the entire event to be decided in one night.
Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said it was a rare opportunity to see so much star power on court in one night. “It really will be an intriguing contest,” he mused. “These guys are all coming in at different stages of their preparation, but once their competitive instincts kick in – which will be almost instant in this format – there will be some absorbing contests. Remember, there is not much room for error. You lose the tie break and you are out.”
“We are ecstatic to have the world No.1 in the field, it is a massive coup,” Tie Break Tens CEO Felicity Barnard said.
“Rafa is renowned as such a fierce competitor who chases down every ball and doesn’t concede a single point. In that respect, the Tie Break Tens format will be perfect for him. And with the brilliance of Djokovic and Wawrinka in the field, the incredible serving and stroke play of Kyrgios and the never-say-die attitude of Hewitt, it is shaping up as an irresistible night of ultra-competitive tennis.”
Tie Break Tens first launched in 2015 when rising star Kyle Edmund beat top-seeded Andy Murray in a gripping final at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Since then, two further tournaments have been staged in Madrid and Vienna with stars such as Dominic Thiem, Stan Wawrinka, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Grigor Dimitrov, Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep and Johanna Konta all vying for huge winner-takes-all prizes.