The 2017 Apia International tennis tournament puts Sydney in the spotlight. January is a month when the nation of Australia celebrates its tennis heritage and its deep association with the sport. Both the ATP and the WTA participate in this tournament, giving it an extra measure of buzz. Having both tours also parallels the coming fortnight in Melbourne. It’s a tennis happening in Sydney.
In terms of significance, this is what’s known as one of the warmups for the Australian Open. The players involved will be here almost in the same way that the players go to Halle before Wimbledon. Many players will opt to skip the event – which is why the field is short on big brand names – because they want to rest before the first grand slam of the year. On the flip side, some players will play at the Apia International because they want to generate a little bit of momentum before they play in the major.
The competition in the 32-player main draw will begin on Sunday, January 8.
Event: ATP Apia International
Category: ATP 250 Series
Date: January 8-14, 2017
Location: NSW Tennis Centre – Sydney, Australia
With a prize money allotment of nearly $450,000, this tournament makes it worth it for ATP pros to get tested with match play in advance of the Australian Open. The prestige of the event is important to the locals in Sydney, but for the players, what matters is tuning up their games before the first major tournament of the year.
Championship – 250 points.
Runner-up – 150.
Semifinal – 90
Quarterfinal – 45
Former Champions and Results (5 Years)
Year Champion Runner-up Score
2016: Viktor Troicki d. Grigor Dimitrov, 2-6, 6-1, 7-6
2015: Victor Troicki d. Mikhail Kukushkin, 6-2, 6-3
2014: Juan Martin del Potro d. Bernard Tomic, 6-3, 6-1
2013: Bernard Tomic d. Kevin Anderson, 6-3, 6-7, 6-3
2012: Jarkko Nieminen d. Julien Benneteau, 6-2, 7-5
The top seed is also the featured player at the event. Dominic Thiem made the French Open semifinals last year. He exploded into the top 10 with a huge forehand and an attacking, authoritative baseline game. The problem with Thiem’s season is that he overscheduled in the first half of the year and was absolutely spent in the second half of the season. This year and in the years to come, he has to schedule the way an elite player does, making sure he’s physically fresh for the major tournaments and the Masters 1000 events. At this early stage in the season, there’s nothing wrong with playing Sydney the week before the Australian Open, but as the season moves along, he’ll have to pick his spots a lot more than he does now. Thiem is the only player in this event ranked in the top 20. It’s his tournament to lose.
Pablo Cuevas is the second seed, Viktor Troicki the third seed, and Pablo Carreno Busta the fourth seed. Cuevas is a clay-courter with above-average groundstrokes. Troicki has won this tournament before and feels a comfort zone here in Sydney. Carreno Busta won Winston-Salem last year and could be a more confident player in 2017.
Philipp Kohlschreiber is the fifth seed. He was 30-22 in all events in 2016. The hard courts are his weakest surface, though, so you might want to avoid him in this spot. He as just 5-8 on hard courts, although he did go 8-5 on indoor hard courts. He was 11-7 on clay and 6-2 on grass, so that gives you an idea of which surfaces he prefers to play on. Gilles Muller is the sixth seed. Martin Klizan is seventh, Marcel Granollers eighth. These are all erratic and enigmatic players who will try to get on a roll during the full week in Sydney.
NSW Tennis Centre
This facility is known and remembered as the site of the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympic tennis tournament. It’s become a legendary venue for that reason and occasionally, a tourist site. Yevgeny Kafelnikov and Venus Williams won gold medals back in the day, making both the Russians and Americans proud. A Swiss teenager named Roger Federer finished fourth in the men’s tournament that year, which would become one of the launching points of his young career. This is a venue with a history in Sydney, the established host site of this stop on tour.
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