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Athletic Slovak, Dominik Hrbaty is set to return to the Heineken Open to defend his Vodafone Singles title in the 2002 tournament scheduled for 7-12 January.

Hrbaty will be the first defending singles titleholder for ten years to come back to the event, with Czech, Karel Novacek the last player to backup after his 1991 victory.

At the 2001 Heineken Open Hrbaty beat Spain's Francisco Clavet in a three set final which was enthralling for the big crowd at the ASB BANK Tennis Centre and proved just what a great competitor and powerful player he is.

Tournament Director Graham Pearce said, "This is great news to have the defending champion return. Dominik is a wonderful sportsman who demonstrates true determination and skill. You can guarantee he will do everything he can in his attempt to retain his Vodafone Singles title".

Aside from his victory in Auckland he went on to have a solid year in 2001. The next week after Auckland at the Australian Open he beat Clavet again on his way to the quarterfinals also dispatching Marat Safin in the fourth round.

He made three semifinals - Dubai, Tashkent and Moscow, where he beat Safin again and progressed to the last eight of the claycourt event in Estoril, Portugal.

The previous two years have been standouts for Hrbaty results wise. He reached the semifinals of Roland Garros and took the title at Prague in 1999 and made three finals in 2000.

Still only 23 years old Hrbaty has been targeted as a player to watch for a long time. As far back as 1996 he was named as the ATP Tour newcomer of the year and is coached by former pro Marian Vajda who played in Auckland on several occasions.

Hrbaty joins Russian Marat Safin and Brit, Greg Rusedski as the players announced for the 2002 Heineken Open so far.

The Heineken Open featuring the Vodafone singles and doubles will be held at the ASB BANK Tennis Centre in Auckland from January 7-12, 2002
 

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I hope Alex plasy in these warmup tourneys. He didn't play until like March last year and his ranking costed him. Go Alex! Get a better schedule!!!
 

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Eek, don't remind me! LOL Alex was just totally out of it, but later recovered by winning Indian Wells. <img src="smile.gif" border="0">
 

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Team WTAworld, The Martian Llama
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Hopefully Greg can have a good start to the year, because he's got a load of points to defend in the first few months of the year!!
 
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COME ON HRBATY KICK ASS!!!!!

did anyone see the video of him getting his picture drawn on the master-series stuttgart site. then he gets it and he goes, "ITS SO UGLY!" hahahahaha!!!!
 
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