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Pros competing in HoF Championships

NEWPORT, R.I. - When the ATP World Tour comes to Newport, R.I. in July for the first stop of the summer season in the United States, the player field will feature a Grand Slam tournament finalist, several players ranked among the world top-50, a group of the world’s brightest young stars, and Newport fan favorites who have seen success on the International Tennis Hall of Fame grass courts previously.

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Marcos Baghdatis, a dynamic player from Cyprus who has been ranked as high as world No. 8 and was runner up at the 2006 Australian Open, is set to make his first appearance in Newport. Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis has recently committed to Newport, joining a previously announced group of rising stars in the player field, including Americans Taylor Fritz and Jared Donaldson. The third-highest ranked American Steve Johnson will make his third appearance in Newport, where he was a quarterfinalist in 2014. Defending champion Rajeev Ram will return to Newport, along with last year’s runner up Ivo Karlovic, a big serving pro who is currently ranked world No. 28.

Additional players for the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships are still to be named. The tournament will be played July 10-17. Tickets are available now on HallofFameTennisChampionships.com.

“There is a lot of variety in the player field for this year’s tournament,” commented Tournament Director and Hall of Fame CEO Todd Martin. “I think it will be a great experience for fans to see some amazing young talent competing against some of the tour’s more prolific veteran players like Marcos Baghdatis and Ivo Karlovic.”

He continued, “Also, we’re really working to build an enhanced fan experience in Newport this summer, and that combined with this player field will offer a fantastic week of tennis.”

Fans will enjoy several new amenities at this year’s tournament, notably an entirely new South Grandstand, featuring individual flip down seating rather than the previously used benches. The viewing experience of the tournament will also be significantly enhanced with the addition of videoboards in the stadium and Hawk-Eye replay - an electronic line calling system. Additionally, as a result of the Hall of Fame’s recent expansion and renovation projects, the tournament now has more space to work with and will offer an expanded fan zone featuring a tennis demo court and new on-site dining options.

Special events top off the ATP action, including tennis clinics for both juniors and adults throughout the week, Alex and Ani Ladies Day on Thursday, July 14, and a new event - PowerShares Legends Newport on Sunday, July 17. PowerShares Legends Newport offers a unique opportunity to see tennis legends back in action in a special one-day tournament. The field will feature Andy Roddick, James Blake, Marat Safin, and a fourth player to be named. It’s a particularly special weekend for Safin to compete, as the two-time Grand Slam tournament champion will be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame on the day prior.

Tickets for the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, as well as the PowerShares event and the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony are on sale now on HallofFameTennisChampionships.com.

ABOUT THE PLAYERS

Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus is currently ranked world No. 39 in the Emirates ATP Rankings. Always an exciting player to watch, Baghdatis has been a staple of the ATP World Tour since the early 2000s and he has been ranked within the top-100 in the year-end rankings for 11 straight years. Baghdatis has had some big wins this season, most notably at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, where he was a finalist. In 2006, Baghdatis was the runner up at the Australian Open. That same season, he reached a career high of world No. 8 and won his first career title with a victory at the China Open. Baghdatis is one of the most successful Davis Cup players of all time, and he has been a dedicated Cyprus Davis Cup team member since he made his debut in 2000 as a 14-year-old. Earlier this year, he won his 36th straight Davis Cup match, surpassing the record for longest singles winning streak, which was previously held by Bjorn Borg at 33 matches.

Rajeev Ram returns to Newport as defending champion, having defeated Ivo Karlovic in a close final last year, 7-6(7), 5-7, 7-6(2). It was Ram’s second career title, as he also won the Newport title in 2009. Ram also won the Newport doubles title that year (w/ Jordan Kerr) - one of his eight career doubles titles. Ram is currently ranked world No. 70, and he has been ranked as high as world No. 56, which he achieved in April of this season. In February of this season, Ram was the runner up at the Delray Beach Open.

Newport fan favorite Ivo Karlovic returns for a sixth appearance at the event, where he has seen great success in recent years. Karlovic was the runner up in 2015 and 2014, and in 2013 he was a quarterfinalist. Karlovic stands at 6’11” and is known for his powerful serve which has been clocked as high as 156 mph. He has a career total of 10,624 aces to date, making him the all-time record holder for career aces and one of just two players in the sport’s history to surpass 10,000 aces. Karlovic has won six ATP World Tour titles, with his most recent victory coming at the 2015 Delray Beach Open. He is currently ranked world No. 28.

American Steve Johnson, who is the third-highest ranked American player and current world No. 34 returns to Newport for the fourth straight year. He was a quarterfinalist at the event in 2014. This season, Johnson has advanced to the third round at the Australian Open, Indian Wells, and the Miami Open. Johnson has been active on the ATP World Tour for just four seasons, following a highly successful collegiate career at University of Southern California, where he won the NCAA Singles Championship in both 2011 and 2012. This season, Johnson has advanced to the third round at the Australian Open, Indian Wells, and the Miami Open.

Rounding out the recent commitments to the Newport player field is an exciting young Australian player, Thanasi Kokkinakis, who is making his Newport debut. Kokkinakis began actively competing on the ATP World Tour in 2014, closing that first season out inside the world top-150. Last year, he broke into the world top-100, reaching a career high ranking of world No. 69, in a season that saw him qualify for six ATP World Tour events, advance to the fourth round at Indian Wells, and the third round at the French Open. Kokkinakis has notched big wins against several top-50 players including Bernard Tomic, Ernest Gulbis, and Juan Monaco. Kokkinakis has been out for the entire 2016 season to date following shoulder surgery, but is prepping to return.

For additional information about the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships, please visit HallofFameTennisChampionships.com

About the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships

Hosted on the historic grass courts of the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, Rhode Island, the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships is the only ATP World Tour event played in the Northeast and the only pro tournament played on grass courts in North and South America. The tournament draws 28 top male players to Newport direct from Wimbledon to compete for the Van Alen Cup. The Hall of Fame Tennis Championships is made possible through the support of major sponsors including Alex and Ani, Chubb, EMC Corporation, Emirates Airlines, Infosys, Rolex, and Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyards. The 2016 tournament will be held July 10-17, 2016. For additional information, visit HallofFameTennisChampionships.com.

 

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