RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan. 8 -- The first ever Rio Open tennis tournament in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro will feature five of the world's top 20 players, including the No. 1 seeded Rafael Nadal of Spain, organizers announced Wednesday.
The inaugural edition of South America's largest tennis tournament (it formerly went by a different name), rated a level 500 tournament by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), will take place from Jan. 15 to 23.
Spain's Nadal and David Ferrer, ranked No. 1 and No. 3, respectively, have confirmed their participation, as have Spain's Nicolas Almagro (13), Italy's Fabio Fognini (16) and Spain's Tommy Robredo (18), organizers said in a press release.
"We are very excited about the confirmation of another three Top 20 players, in addition to Nadal and Ferrer," tournament director Luiz Carvalho told reporters at a press conference.
"We will now have two Roland Garros champions, Nadal and (Francesca) Schiavone. They are great names in tennis, especially on a clay court. We also have other interesting names in the list," he added.
In women's tennis, the star attractions are the Czech Klara Zakopalov (No. 47 in WTA ranking), Italy's Francesca Schiavone (No. 41 and 2010 Roland Garros champion) and Romania's Alexandra Cadantu (No. 59).
"We will undoubtedly have several top tennis players and with different styles to offer spectators a great show," said Carvalho.
In men's tennis, the tournament will also feature Argentina's Juan Monaco and Carlos Berlocq, Spain's Marcel Granollers and Pablo Andujar, France's Jeremy Chardy and Ukranian Alexandr Dolgopolov.
Brazil's Thomaz Bellucci, in men's, and Teliana Pereira, in women's, have also been invited to participate in the tournament.
The Rio Open's men's prize is 1.3 million U.S. dollars, and the women will compete for a 250,000-dollar award.