The ATP 500 Rakuten Japan Open is currently being played in Tokyo. This tournament which includes men’s singles and doubles started in 1972. South African players have had much success on Japanese soil since the inception with the following taking titles:
Wesley Moodie – singles champion 2005
Jeff Coetzee and Chris Haggard – doubles champions 2002
Raven Klaasen (playing with M Melo from Brazil) – doubles champion 2015
Along Wesley Moodie’s road to winning the title he beat Jimmy Wang, Mikhail Youzhny, Louis Homa, Radek Stepanek, Jarkko Nieminen and in the final, Mario Ancic 16 76(7) 64. Wesley was unseeded for the tournament and this was his maiden Tour win.
In 2002 Jeff and Chris were not the only South Africans playing – Shaun Rudman paired up with Australian Anthony Ross went out in round 1 and David Adams and American partner Brian MacPhie who were seeded 2 were knocked out in the round of 16.
Prior to the advent of the ATP Tour, the Japan Open was known as the Tokyo Outdoor Grand Prix and was part of the Grand Prix tennis tour between 1972 and 1989.
This year Kevin Anderson and Raven Klaasen are both participating.