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Top tennis players gather in Basel for Swiss Indoors

Swiss hopes are resting on Roger Federer.

(Keystone / Patrick B. Kraemer)

The Swiss Indoors in Basel, Switzerland's biggest annual sporting event and one of the most important indoor tennis championships, gets underway in earnest on Tuesday.

Around 60,000 spectators are expected to watch the six-day event, which brings together some of the world's finest players.

Among the big names this year are the winners of the singles titles for the past three years - Britain's Greg Rusedski and Tim Henman, and Slovakia's Karol Kucera.

But the more than 20 players competing for the $1 million ($560,000) prize also include a number of newcomers to the Swiss Indoors. The Australian, Lleyton Hewitt, and the Dutchman, Richard Krajicek, who showed their form in the US Open, are both in Basel for the first time.

Swiss hopes rest on teenager, Roger Federer, who narrowly missed out on a medal at the Sydney Olympics. Federer - who comes from Basel - is one of the tournament favourites.

Switzerland's most successful tennis player to date, Marc Rosset, passed up the opportunity to appear in Basel, leaving Georg Bastl as the only other Swiss in the competition.

The Swiss Indoors comes just two weeks after the Swisscom Challenge in Zurich, which saw Switzerland's Martina Hingis secure her first major title on Swiss soil.

In other tennis news, Switzerland's Patty Schnyder won in the first round of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. The 24th ranked player in the world defeated Spain's Magui Serna (WTA 33) 7-6 (7-3), 1-6, 6-3.

swissinfo with agencies

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