KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – World number four David Ferrer returns to Kuala Lumpur to headline the Malaysian Open, aiming to get back the winning feeling after an inconsistent year.
Last year's leading ATP winner with seven titles, the Spaniard has only claimed two crowns this year, in Argentina in January and New Zealand a month later.
Despite his lack of titles in 2013, Ferrer has performed well at times this year, especially in the Grand Slams, where he reached the French Open final, Australian Open semi-finals and quarter-finals at Wimbledon and the US Open.
He will be joined at the start of the main draw on Monday by defending champion Juan Monaco of Argentina, fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno, who has risen from 654 to his current ranking of 67, and world number 10 Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland.
"You always want to go back to a place where you have done well, so I am very happy about coming back to Kuala Lumpur and this year I bring four of my Davis Cup team-mates," said Monaco.
"Last year was my first time in Malaysia and I liked it very much, and I won the tournament. I hope it can happen again."
Marcos Baghdatis, who has been ranked as high as number eight in the world and been a finalist at the Australian Open, also returns to Malaysia.
The Cypriot is a crowd favourite in the Malaysian capital and returns after getting married and becoming a father last year.
Now ranked 48th, Baghdatis will be a direct entry in the $984,300 tournament, which starts Saturday with the qualifying rounds.
The ATP 250 World Tour tournament, however, will miss world number 24 Marin Cilic of Croatia, who this week was handed a nine-month doping ban by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
The 24-year-old had the ban back-dated to May 1 this year, meaning he will be able to return to action on February 1, 2014.
Cilic tested positive for the stimulant nikethamide at the Munich Open in May.