Cilic, Mannarino & Millman the men to watch at S'pore Tennis Open

Singapore's 22-year wait for an ATP Tour tournament will end today, with the US$300,000 (S$397,000) Singapore Tennis Open at the OCBC Arena heralding the return of the sport.

The Republic previously hosted the season-ending WTA Finals, featuring the world's top women's players, from 2014-2018.

The Singapore Tennis Open, which will run till Sunday, will feature former US Open champion Marin Cilic, while the other top seeds are world No. 36 Adrian Mannarino, 39th-ranked John Millman and world No. 45 Alexander Bublik. The quartet will not be in action today as they have a first-round bye.

The initial list of Singapore-bound players included 20-year-old rising star Felix Auger-Aliassime, who is ranked 19th, and top-30 players Daniel Evans (world No. 26) and Casper Ruud (world No. 28).

Lim Teck Yin, tournament organising chairman and Sport Singapore chief executive, said last Friday that players had "multiple considerations" when deciding on their participation, adding that some had pulled out because of injury or personal reasons.

The ATP 250 tournament, which is part of the men's tennis circuit, will start today behind closed doors "for safety reasons", but organisers said that up to 250 spectators may be allowed to attend the semi-finals and finals.

This will depend on whether there are no tournament-related positive Covid-19 cases, and other factors like local transmissions.

Singapore has hosted sporting events involving overseas athletes with spectators in attendance in recent times.

Since last October, mixed martial arts promotion One Championship has held four shows here with up to 250 fans. Fighters and members of their entourage have tested positive for Covid-19, but none of the shows have had to be cancelled.

Last month's e-sports tournament Mobile Legends: Bang Bang M2 World Championship also saw positive tests, but managed to go ahead as planned.