DUTCH master Richard Krajicek is returning to Merseyside – more than a decade after he helped local hero Ken Skupski kick-off a career in top class tennis.
In 2004 – just eight years after he was crowned Wimbledon champion – Krajicek took on Mossley Hill’s Skupski in an exhibition match which was ‘exhibition’ in name only!
“I’ll be treating it seriously,” grinned Skupski at the time.
“He’s one of my boyhood idols and I’m really looking forward to playing him – and hopefully beating him!”
“He’s probably one of the best players I’ve ever seen play tennis.”
Skupski did just that – tying a closely contested clash one set all then winning a Super TieBreak 10-7.
Skupski is now a regular on the world doubles circuit with brother Neal, but Krajicek is back on Merseyside where he will be joined by another current ATP star, Pablo Andujar.
The 29-year-old finished as runner up in the Barcelona Open earlier this year after being beaten by Japan’s Kei Nishikori in straight sets and reached the third round of this year’s French Open, only to be knocked out by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
The Spaniard has previously taken part in the Liverpool International tournament in 2013, but this year will be looking for his first title in this event as he prepares for Wimbledon.
Krajicek and Andújar are the latest names on a tournament list already packed with bright talents from both the past and future of tennis, including former UK number one Jeremy Bates and Russia’s latest prodigy Andrey Rublev.
The tournament starts on Thursday at Liverpool Cricket Club, secure your tickets here.