Rain delays start of Swiss Open
Rain has prevented play for most of the first day at the UBS Open in Gstaad. Mark Rosset, Roger Federer and George Bastl will have to wait to lead the Swiss challenge at this year's tournament.
Showers wiped out first round action in the tournament and only a handful of qualifying games managed to get started. Organisers hope that play will get underway early on Tuesday morning.
But it's not only the weather that has been unkind to the homegrown talent. They have also drawn some tough opponents in the first round as they look to end a decade of Spanish dominance.
Federer in particular is unlikely to have an easy start, after having been drawn against the number one seed, Alex Corretja. The Swiss number two has no one to blame but himself, though - it was Federer who made the official draw!
Corretja heads a trio of top Spanish players in Gstaad. Last year's winner, Albert Costa, is back to defend his title. Up-and-coming star, Juan Carlos Ferrero will also be a threat in an event which has been won by Spaniards seven times in the last eight years.
One Swiss player is guaranteed to drop out in the first round, after Geneva's Marc Rosset was drawn against the young Bernese talent, Michel Kratochvil, who took a wildcard entry into the tournament. George Bastl will meet one of the qualifiers in his first match, while Switzerland's other wild card, Ivo Heuberger, comes up against France's Sébastien Grosjean.
A good run by a Swiss player could help promote a tournament that has been a little knocked back by the late withdrawal of the original two top seeds. Cédric Pioline (ATP 9) is suffering with bronchitis, while Marat Safin (ATP 9) has pulled out with an injured elbow. This week's Gstaad Open will be the first since 1987 without a world top ten player in the draw.
But, besides the Spanish players, there are still many big names hoping to take home the 81,000 dollar first prize.
Germany's Nicolas Kiefer is seeded two for the tournament. He'll be a major threat to a Spanish win along with Grosjean and the Moroccans Younes El Aynaoui and Hicham Arazi.
Argentina's Franco Squillari will head the South American challenge. Squillari has already beaten Costa this year on his way to the semifinals at Roland Garros. Another clay court specialist, Chile's Marcelo Rios is also in the draw.
It'll be his seventh appearance in as many years at Gstaad. Rios will be looking to get back into top form after a break through injury, which has seen him slip in the world rankings.
Last year's tournament drew a record 46,930 attendance and organisers are hoping for another feast of top-level tennis to entertain this year's crowds.
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