From 24 May to 26 May, David Lloyd Club in Brussels will be hosting the first edition of the BNP Paribas Fortis Champions, the only Belgian tournament on the ATP Champions Tour. Tennis veterans Olivier Rochus, Thomas Muster and Mark Philippoussis were the final three players to sign up for the BNP Paribas Fortis Champions. From May 24 until May 26 they will compete with Xavier Malisse, Thomas Enqvist and Henri Leconte for victory at the ATP Champions Tour event. While John McEnroe, Kim Clijsters, Sabine Appelmans and Dominique Monami will show their skills during the BNP Paribas Fortis Champions double matches.
Thomas Muster was the clay court specialist of the nineties. Now 50 years old he dominated in 1995, winning Roland Garros. He was also an above average player on hard courts reaching two semi-finals on the Australian Open and 3 quarter-finals of the US Open. By virtue of his great versatility and consistency, he became the world number one in 1996. Thomas Muster has a collection of 44 ATP-titles in his trophy cabinet.
In 1995, during Muster’s big year of, Mark Philippoussis was the youngest player in the ATP top 50, at only 19 years of age. The following year in Toulouse, the Australian won the first of his 11 ATP-titles and was nicknamed ‘The Scud’ for his extremely fast serve. He reached the final stage of the US Open (1998) and Wimbledon (2003), but never managed to win a grand slam tournament. The former number eight in the world ranking won the Davis Cup twice with Australia.
Olivier Rochus (1m:68cm) is 28 cm shorter than Philippoussis and makes his first appearance in the ATP Champions Tour. In spite of height difference, the man from Namur proves that it is not necessary to be a serve cannon to make it in the tennis world. Back in 2005 he reached the 24th spot in the world ranking, mostly based on his fabulous technique. We can be sure that he will thrill the crowd with some of his mind-blowing precision shots, even at the age of 37. He achieved his biggest triumph at the side of Xavier Malisse in 2004, when they won the men’s doubles at Roland Garros.
The opening match of the BNP Paribas Fortis Champions takes place on Thursday, 24 May at 14:30 when Rochus and Malisse battle it out at the David Lloyd Club. The winner of this match will continue to the semi-finals, in which he has to compete with Thomas Muster for a place in the final. The second qualifying match on Thursday is the one between Swede Thomas Enqvist and Frenchman Henri Leconte. The winner meets Mark Philippoussis in the semi-finals.
In between the single matches on Thursday and Friday and after the men’s final on Saturday, mixed doubles are on the schedule. Mark Philippoussis and Dominique Monami play against Thomas Muster and Sabine Appelmans on Thursday. The day after, Sabine Appelmans partners up with the loser of the match between Malisse and Rochus, and Monami forms a double with the loser of the Enqvist-Leconte match.
After the singles final on Sunday, Kim Clijsters and John McEnroe make their appearance. They will conclude the first edition of the BNP Paribas Fortis Champions with an undoubtedly dazzling exhibition match against Dominique Monami and Henri Leconte.
Information and complete schedule
BNP Paribas Fortis Champions
When: 24-26 May 2018
Where: David Lloyd Club Brussels – Lorrainedreef 41, 1180 Brussels
Tickets, hospitality and further info: www.championsclassic.be
Thursday 24th May 2018:
2.30 pm: Rochus vs. Malisse
Followed by: Philippoussis/Monami vs. Muster/Appelmans
Not before 5.00 pm: Enqvist vs. Leconte
Friday 25th May 2018:
2.30 pm: Winner match 1 vs. Muster
Followed by: Loser match 1/Appelmans vs. Loser match 3/Monami
Not before 5.00 pm: Winner match 3 vs. Philippoussis
Saturday 26th May 2018:
2.30 pm: ATP Champions Tour Final
Followed by: McEnroe/Clijsters vs. Leconte/Monami
The Brussels Times