Delray Beach, Fla. -- Four Top-20 players and five former champions highlight the Delray Beach International Tennis Championships (ITC) acceptance list of ATP World Tour stars that was released today. The 21st annual tournament will be played February 22 - March 3 at the Delray Beach Stadium & Tennis Center.
The ATP's Top 20 contingent in the ITC includes John Isner (No. 13), Marin Cilic (No. 14), Kei Nishikori (No. 18) and Alexandr Dolgopolov (No. 20), as well as former champions Kevin Anderson (2012), Mardy Fish (2009), Tommy Haas (2006) and Xavier Malisse (2005 & 2007). Nishikori was the 2008 ITC winner.
The list also confirms the first-ever appearance by former world No. 7 Gael Monfils, who is playing his way back from a knee injury that sidelined him for three and a half months during the 2012 season.
Monfils, 26, has won four ATP titles and has three late-round Grand Slam finishes to his credit. He reached the 2008 French Open semifinals as well as the quarterfinal rounds of the 2009 French Open and the 2010 US Open. In 2011, the Frenchman was ranked in the Top 10 for 32 straight weeks.
"Four Top 20s definitely makes it a great ticket for the fans," says ITC tournament director Mark Baron. "And we are more than thrilled to have Gael Monfils in our event. He's a legitimate Top 10 player who has to be considered one of the favorites to win our title."
The No. 20 Dolgopolov is also making his first appearance in the Delray Beach field. The 24-year-old Kiev, Ukraine resident won two ATP titles over the last two seasons, and reached No. 13 in the world last year. He was an Australian Open quarterfinalist in 2011.
Feliciano Lopez is another newcomer to the ITC; Lopez reached No. 15 in the world in 2011 and helped Spain win the 2008 and 2009 Davis Cup titles.
Fans shouldn't count out two players just outside the Top 20: world No. 21 Haas and No. 27 Fish, who took a medical sabbatical from tennis after reaching the fourth round of the US Open in September. The 34-year-old Haas made a successful comeback from injury for the third time in his career, returning the Top 20 in 2012 while the 31-year-old Fish spent most of the last two years in the Top 10.
Marinko Matosesvic, the 2012 ITC runner-up to Anderson, is also returning to the ITC. The Australian was a surprise finalist after coming out of the qualifying rounds, and has improved his ranking to No. 48 in the world. Anderson is currently ranked No. 36 and will be in the mix to defend his title.
In addition to Isner and Fish, 20-year-old Ryan Harrison rounds out the American trio in the 32-player field. Isner looks to be the overall top seed in Delray Beach, but Baron is still holding three wild cards if other top-ranked players become available.
Boca Raton resident Jesse Levine of Canada, who took out former Top 10 Tommy Robredo in the first round of the Australian Open this week, is the first alternate for the ATP World Tour event.
The world No. 1 Bryan Brothers will highlight the doubles field at the ITC's ATP World Tour event, while John McEnroe leads a group of six players in the ATP Champions Tour matches on the event's opening weekend (Feb. 22 - 24).