06 Apr Niland makes the breakthrough into the ATP World Tour
Niland makes the breakthrough into the ATP World Tour
Ireland’s Davis Cup stalwart – Conor Niland – has qualified for the main draw of the US Men’s Clay Court Championships in Houston, Texas. This is an ATP World Tour event where the top seeds are World number 11 Fernando Gonzalez, John Isner (21), Sam Querrey (37) and Lleyton Hewitt (Wimbledon winner 2002).
This is a huge career breakthrough for Niland. In the early part of the season he was within a couple of points of qualifying in Doha and also at the Australian Open in Melbourne. In recent weeks he reached a career high ATP World ranking of 228 following success on the Challenger tour in Jersey and also in representing Ireland in Davis Cup against Turkey.
Conor is the senior player at the BNP Paribas National Tennis Academy at DCU and his success comes as no surprise to Academy Director Garry Cahill "Conor has worked very hard to make certain improvements in his game in recent months and in particular his level of fitness has improved dramatically. All of us who work with him on a daily basis at the Academy can see the improvements and we felt it was only a question of when he would make this breakthrough. Houston is a good surface for Conor and clearly he can now do very well at Roland Garros this year."
Conor now faces a stadium court match against the 2006 champion Mardy Fish (USA) tonight (second match in the night session). Fish currently has an ATP ranking of 97 but was as high as 17 in the World in 2004. He retired injured against Youzhny in Miami last week and the winner will meet defending champion Lleyton Hewitt in the second round.
The Houston event is the only major event played on red clay in the US. Following this event, the ATP World tour swings to the red clay events in Southern Europe in preperation for the second Grand Slam of the year at Roland Garros. Both Conor and his Davis Cup team-mate Louk Sorensen are expected to play the qualifying draw at Roland Garros.
For further information please contact Des Allen (086-6032958) or Aileen Rogan (087-4121910).