Richard Krajicek, the tournament director of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament, refuses to take credit after presenting the strong field of participants for this year’s edition. The Rotterdam tournament will welcome six players from the top 10 early next month, including the global number 2 Rafael Nadal.
“It’s nice to take the credits for that, but I just sat back a little bit and the players just came in,” Krajicek admitted. “In that respect, from a field point of view, it was the easiest year ever.”
Because the calendar has been thinned by the corona virus and the tennis season started a bit slower than usual, the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament is more popular than ever among players.
“We are not the requesting party this year,” said Krajicek, who normally has to entice the top players with starting money. “I saw at the tournament in Vienna last year that ‘they’ had an amazing field of participants. I thought: with us it will also differ slightly from previous years how much they want to play. But that the attention is so great, that is a surprise yes. “
Although Nadal is the most appealing name for the general public, according to Krajicek the Russian Daniil Medvedev is “the man in shape”. “He has played the best in recent months; he won the ATP Finals, won everything in the ATP Cup and is now in the final of the Australian Open.”
On Friday morning, a week and a half before the start of the tournament, Krajicek also received a request from Alexander Zverev. A player whom he already awarded a wild card as a talent years ago. Krajicek is now doing the same with the Italian Jannik Sinner, who – like Andy Murray – is given preference over the Dutch tennis players.
“I think Sinner is a potential number 1; he has peace of mind, moves well and has all the ingredients in house. He’s a very good tennis player,” said the former Wimbledon champion, who also gave Kei Nishikori a wildcard. “I actually thought that would not be necessary, but yes, this year it is all a bit different.”
Partly for this reason, Krajicek does not dare to designate an explicit favorite. “I don’t know what to expect,” admits the director. “You have to beat five very good players, possibly all of them in the top 20, to win the tournament. It’s crazy. Hopefully the nice line-up will also be reflected on the court.”
The tournament starts on Monday, March 1. The last two editions were won by the Frenchman Gaël Monfils, who will defend his title.