MEDIA RELEASE 16 November 01
Embargoed until 6am 17 November 01
FORMER WIMBLEDON CHAMP HEADS SPANIARDS TO AUCKLAND
The 2002 ASB BANK Classic has scored another coup with the announcement of former world number two and 1994 Wimbledon champion Conchita Martinez of Spain.
Martinez at age 29 has been in three grand slam finals, on three different surfaces, including her remarkable win on grass at Wimbledon over Martina Navratilova and also appearances in the 1998 Australian Open final and Roland Garros final last year.
Martinez has played in New Zealand before as a 17-year-old in the Auckland event in 1989 and won the then WTA tournament in Wellington.
Her record at the Australian Open features a record of seven straight years of making the fourth round or better between 1992 and 1998 while on clay at Roland Garros her record has been even more consistent.
Between the years 1989 and 1996 she had a run of four straight quarterfinals followed by three semifinal appearances.
"Conchita has had a quieter year due to injury but at 29 is still very likely to add to her hugely impressive record" said ASB BANK Tournament Director, Richard Palmer.
Martinez has spent a large part of 2001 out with a right Achilles tendon problem but still managed to reach three singles semifinals and the quarterfinals of Wimbledon.
She has a total of 32 singles titles, including the record of at least on title in each year from 1988 to 2000 and was ranked number two in the world in 1995 and 1996.
Her current Sanex WTA Tour ranking is 35.
Martinez is not alone as the only Spaniard to enter the Classic with rising star Angeles Montolio looking set to be one of the top seeds. Martinez may have the experience but according to the statistics in 2001 Montolio is someone to watch out for.
Montolio will be making her debut in Auckland and is at her career high ranking of 23. The Barcelona native won her first career singles title this year taking out the title at Estoril, Portugal and then followed it up two weeks later with the title in Bol, Croatia.
"She is part of a group of Spanish women making a big impression on the world scene" said Palmer.
The 25-year-old who stands at 1.57m (5'2") made three quarterfinals and beat players of the calibre of Justine Henin and Sandrine Testud to win at Estoril. She also defeated Lindsay Davenport and Anne Kremer this year and previously made the final of Polermo in 1999.
The ASB BANK Classic is scheduled to run from 31 December 2001 - 5 January 2002.
For further information please contact:
Richard Palmer - ASB BANK Tournament Director or Dave Worsley
Ph 09 373 3623 Mobile 021 679 096
Mobile 021 675 006