Defending champion and winner of a rare double in 2007, Xavier Malisse of Belgium has confirmed participation for Chennai Open 2008.
The 13th edition of the tournament will be held from December 31 to Jan 6, 2008 at the SDAT Stadium in Nungambakkam in Chennai.
Known for his enormous right-hand forehand and great power, the 27-year-old tall Belgian last year set the Chennai crowd alight with some sparkling tennis all through the week. He had a dream run, beating world No 2 Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals and Austrian Stefan Koubek 6-1, 6-3 in singles final. He then partnered countryman Dick Norman to defeat the Spanish duo of Rafael Nadal and Bartolome Salve Vidal in the doubles final 7-6(4), 7-6(4).
"It feels great to be back to the place where it all began. I won back-to-back both singles and doubles titles in 2007 and I really enjoyed playing at Chennai.
"I have had a spate of injuries this year and was not able to give a consistent performance. I like the surface at Chennai and am extremely confident that I would be able to make a successful comeback and be able to defend my title," he said.
Tournament director Fernando Soler expressed confidence that Malisse would re-kindle the form and temperament he showed last year.
"Xavier Malisse is a talented player and it's always good to have the defending champion come back," he said.
The return of the defending champion in addition to world No 2 Rafael Nadal, world No 16 Marcos Baghdatis, world No 17 and Chennai heartthrob Carlos Moya and World No 19, Mikhail Youzhny, makes the field for Open a powerful and impressive line-up.