Three former champions are among a strong international field set to compete at the Odlum Brown VanOpen from July 28 to Aug. 5 at the Hollyburn Country Club in West Vancouver.
James Ward of Britain, Dudi Sela of Israel and South African Rik de Voest will play in the main men's draw of this year's $200,000 USTA Pro Circuit tournament.
North Vancouver's Filip Peliwo, winner of the junior boys' title at Wimbledon on July 8, was awarded a wild card entry into the draw. Wimbledon marked Peliwo's third consecutive appearance in a Junior Grand Slam Final, having been the runner-up at the Australian Open in January and second at the French Open last month.
Ward returns to defend the title he earned last August when he defeated Robby Ginepri 7-5, 6-4 on stadium court. The 25-year-old from London recently thrilled hometown fans battling American Mardy Fish in five tough sets in the second round at Wimbledon.
Sela, a three-time champion, hopes to add another VanOpen title to the ones he captured in 2005, 2008 and 2010. The 27-year-old fan favourite has never lost a singles match at Hollyburn.
De Voest, a two-time doubles champion who hoisted the VanOpen trophy in 2006, will be looking to add to his trophy collection with another strong run in this year's tournament.
“It is great to see popular champions like James, Dudi and Rik all returning to Hollyburn this year,” said tournament chairman and underwriter Floyd Hill, in a release.
“With the depth and strength of this year’s field, we are going see many closely-fought battles, which will be very exciting for our fans.”
Hill said he hopes the VanOpen tournament will launch Peliwo's career, like it did for Milos Raonic, Vasek Pospisil and Rebecca Marino.
In addition to the past champions, this year’s field includes rising star Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands, who is poised to crack the world top-100, left-hander Adrian Mannarino of France who was a world top-50 at this time last year and Canadian Davis Cup team members Frank Dancevic and Peter Polansky.
Tennis stars from Canada, United States, Great Britain, France, Spain, China, Netherlands, South Africa, Israel, Russia, Lithuania, Belgium and the Czech Republic have committed to this year’s event.
The men’s draw will be bolstered with the addition of wild card entries to be announced shortly. The VanOpen women’s players list will be unveiled later this week.
An on-court fashion show featuring tennis legend Martina Hingis' My Tonic line of tennis apparel is slated for July 31. Hingis will also be taking part in a special exhibition match on stadium court Aug. 1.