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TENNIS: Nastase joining ATP stars to play at Calderstones.


NEXT summer's Liverpool International tennis tournament in Calderstones Park is all set to be the biggest event of its kind in Europe, with matches involving genuine tennis legends as well as stars from the regular ATP tour.

Last summer's winner Ivan Ljubicic will be coming back to defend his title, as will that great entertainer I lie Nastase and his friend Mansour Bahrami, though former winner Marat Safin is unlikely to be able to attend.

Unfortunately, due to the rulings of the ATP, promoter Anders Borg will be unable to feature a high-powered ladies event, which is a pity as Liverpool is now starting to produce some excellent female players.

That decision is due to the presence of other women's events elsewhere at the same time, even though it means several enthusiastic challengers will not be able to take part.

Still, spectators will undoubtedly be able to see just how far local men's star Ken Skupski has progressed during the winter, following another winter of regular competition in the United States.

Also featuring prominently will be former Davis Cupper Barry Cowan who is helping Anders Borg with the organisation this time round, in between his comment ating duties with Sky TV.

The Liverpool international is unique in many ways.

It is easily the biggest municipally backed tennis event in the country, played in a beautiful public park and it is gradually developing a friendly and personal atmosphere all of its own.

If our national LTA could be persuaded to show a bit more of an interest, it could well become one of the country's two or three outstanding tournaments and also help to develop some of the genuine high-class prospects that Britain desperately needs.

The presence of good local players is always a major attraction, as was shown last year by the public's reaction to players such as Skupski, Anthony Hardman and the rapidly improving Simon Roberts.


Ken Skupski
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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 14, 2004
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