Thailand's premier annual sporting event, the Thailand Open is celebrating its 10th year as part of the ATP Tour. The 2012 edition of the tournament will be held from 22 - 30 September 2012.
The tournament began in 2003 with Thailand going crazy over “Ball”; Paradorn Srichaphan. Paradorn made the quarter finals in the first tournament with Taylor Dent capturing the trophy with a hard-fought win over then world #1 Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain. In the doubles, Israeli duo Jonathon Erlich and Andy Ram won the first of their two Thailand Open titles.
In 2004 the event attracted more spectators and tennis superstars. Roger Federer and Andy Roddick led the field that also featured popular Russian Marat Safin. 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.
In 2005, Federer return to defend his title against a field that included former #1 Lleyton Hewitt and Germany’s Tommy Haas. However, the biggest surprise was the run to the final by a little-known Scot named Andy Murray. It was Murray’s first ATP Tour final and he pushed Federer all the way in a hotly contested match.
The field in 2006 was led by world #3 Ivan Ljubicic and also featured America’s James Blake, Tim Henman, Safin, Ferrero, Paradorn and a returning Andy Murray. Ultimately it was world #9 James Blake who took home the King’s Cup after a convincing win over Ljubicic in the final.
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.
In 2008 we welcomed the charismatic Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for the first time. And Jo made the most of his Bangkok experience winning his first ATP title beating #1 seed Novak Djokovic in the final.
Jo returned in 2009 along with countryman Gilles Simon, Marat Safin and rising stars including John Isner and Ernests Gulbis. However, it was Simon who emerged victorious winning his first title of the year while popular duo Eric Butorac and Rajeev Ram took the doubles crown.
In 2010, Bangkok went crazy for the first-ever appearance of superstar Rafael Nadal. The field also included Argentina’s US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, Ernests Gulbis, Jurgen Melzer and Fernando Verdasco. However, to the surprise of a full house at Impact Arena, 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.
Last year we welcomed back Andy Murray, Gilles Simon as well as the irrepressible Gael Monfils and the returning champion Garcia-Lopez. While Murray made his way comfortably through the draw beating Simon in one semi final, the other semi featured a surprise result with American prodigy Donald Young knocking out Monfils in a third-set tie-breaker. However, the young American playing in his first ATP final was no match for Murray who won in two comfortable sets.