The Apia International Sydney, which has won more awards from the ATP World Tour than any other Australian tournament, reflects on a stellar 2014 edition of the tournament and looks forward to 2015.
More than 80,000 people were in attendance at the Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre and 10,302 packed the Ken Rosewall Arena to watch 2013 champion Bernard Tomic take on world no. 5 and top seed Juan Martin del Potro. The big Argentine won in a stunning display of dominant power tennis, winning his eighteenth career title 6-3, 6-1. Del Potro lost just six points on serve in the 53-minute match, hitting eight aces. He received his trophy from the hands of Ken Rosewall himself.
‘The finals never are easy, but I was surprised of my level tonight,’ said del Potro. ‘I think I played great. My forehand worked perfectly; I made a lot winners; many aces; I played good slices.
‘I think Bernard was a little frustrated after seeing me very focused on the match and hitting the ball so well. He is still young in some moments of the match, but he has everything to win titles, and he will reach finals very, very soon.’
The home fans rooted for Tomic, still just 21, who came through the draw as an unseeded player for a chance to defend the title he won in 2013 against Kevin Anderson.
‘Juan played too good,’ said Tomic. ‘There was nothing I could do. I knew it was going to be like that where either he plays very good or gives me more chances.
‘Tonight showed why he's that quality of a player. So there was nothing I could have done. I tried to keep up, but he kept
playing the way he was playing. I haven't seen a guy play a second set like that. It was too good.’
Tomic joins Lleyton Hewitt, Tim Henman, Pete Sampras, Guy Forget and James Blake as players who have reached consecutive finals at Sydney. Lleyton Hewitt won the title in 2000-1 and 2004-5.
It was the fifth tournament in a row del Potro had won as the top seed and he received $82,040 and 250 Emirates ATP Ranking points, while runner-up Tomic earned $43,210 and 150 Emirates ATP Ranking points. Del Potro is the third man, behind Pete Sampras and Lleyton Hewitt, to win the title after entering the tournament as the top seed.
Earlier in the tournament, Sergiy Stakhosvky made a thrilling run to the semi-finals as a qualifier and former champion Dimitry Tursunov returned to the top 30 by reaching the last four.
The Apia International Sydney has been recognized for media relations/operations, its charity programme and for fan experience. The week before the Australian Open, it always attracts a strong field and del Potro and Tomic were joined in the draw by the likes of Andreas Seppi, Julien Benneteau, Alexandr Dolgopolov and Marin Cilic.
Now tournament director Craig Watson can start preparing for the 2015 iteration of the Apia International Sydney, which is sure to set a new benchmark of excellence in the rich history of the tournament.