Thailand's premier annual sporting event, the PTT Thailand Open enters its ninth year as part of the ATP Tour and returns to Bangkok from 24 September – 2 October, 2011.
The tournament has played host to some of the biggest names in men’s tennis.
In 2003 with Paradorn-mania at its height after the Thai ace had become the first Asian player to crack the world top 10, the Thailand Open was born and the excitement surrounding “Ball” was a large part of the success of the first event.
However, the event quickly proved that it was not just an opportunity for Paradorn to show his stuff to his home fans. Over the past seven years, the Thailand Open has welcomed some of the biggest names in men’s tennis. In the inaugural event in 2003, the field was headlined by then world #1 Spain’s Juan Carlos Ferrero as well as fellow top 10 stars Carlos Moya and Paradorn. Paradorn made the quarter finals but in the end it was big serving American Taylor Dent who took the title beating Ferrero in straight sets in the first final, and Israeli duo Jonathon Erlich and Andy Ram won the first of their two Thailand Open doubles titles.
In 2004 the event grew even bigger attracting more spectators as well as the world’s #1 and #2 players: Roger Federer and Andy Roddick. Russia’s Marat Safin was another top-five player who made it to the event. And after two dream semi-finals: Federer vs. Paradorn and Roddick vs. Safin, the final was a clash between the top two players in the world with Federer emerging victorious.
The following year saw Federer return to defend his title against the likes of Aussie Lleyton Hewitt and Germany’s Tommy Haas but it was a then unheralded Scot named Andy Murray who surprised everyone by making his first ATP Tour final and taking it up to Federer all the way in the tight final match.
In 2006, the tournament featured more top names in one year than ever before. The stellar line up included then world #3 Ivan Ljubicic, #9 James Blake as well as the returning Murray, Tim Henman, Safin, Ferrero and Paradorn. James Blake took home the King’s Cup trophy after a convincing win over Ljubicic.
In 2007, Dmitry Tursunov beat Germany’s Benjamin Becker in the singles final but for local fans the highlight of the tournament was the unexpected breakthrough of local twins Sonchat and Sanchai Ratiwatana who collected their first ATP Tour doubles title beating Nicolas Mahut and Michael Llodra in front of an ecstatic crowd of 10,000.
2008 saw the breakthrough of France’s irrepressible Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who captured his first ATP title beating #1 seed Novak Djokovic in the final, and in 2009 Tsonga returned along with countryman Gilles Simon, Marat Safin and rising stars including John Isner and Ernests Gulbis. Simon emerged victorious winning his first title of the year while popular duo Eric Butorac and Rajeev Ram took the doubles crown.
Last year finally saw the arrival of Rafael Nadal in Bangkok, leading a field that also included Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro in his first tournament back from a lengthy injury spell. Ernests Gulbis returned as did Jurgen Melzer and Fernando Verdasco. To the surprise of 10,000 spectators, Nadal lost his semi final match to compatriot Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in three tense sets. Garcia-Lopez’s opponent in the final was popular Finn Jarkko Nieminen and after three very tight sets the Spaniard was victorious. In the doubles Serbian-German pairing of Viktor Troicki and Christopher Kas defeated Jonathon Erlich of Israel and Jurgen Melzer of Austria.Web: