MOSCOW, October 11 (RIA Novosti)
(UPDATES to correct Azarenka champion in 2010, not 2011)
The head of Russian tennis acknowledged Thursday that this year's men's field for the Kremlin Cup is the weakest in years, but insisted that the finances are in place to attract higher-caliber players for the 2013 edition.
Only seven top-50 players are entered for the $670,000 event starting Monday, with the top seed likely to be Alexander Dolgopolov, ranked 20th in the world.
"The list of players does not probably comply with the Kremlin Cup brand, but it is even," said Shamil Tarpishchev, the head of the Russian Tennis Federation.
He vowed the competition would strengthen next year, however.
“We have agreement with the Bank of Moscow about the attraction of the strongest players for the next year.”
The traditionally stronger women's draw features 2011 U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur and former world Nos. 1 Caroline Wozniacki and Ana Ivanovic.
"The women’s draw is very good this year," Tarpishchev said. "These are 12 players from the top 30, it is a solid tournament."
For the women, the Kremlin Cup is the last stop on the Premier tour before the season-ending WTA championships and offers $740,000 in prize money.
The WTA made the women's event a premier category in 2009, and it has has consistently drawn starring such big names as Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka, who won it in 2010.
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