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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 January, 2004, 12:04 GMT
17 Martin Verkerk
Martin Verkerk
Born: 10/10/78
Nationality: Dutch
Seeded: 17
World ranking: 17
Australian Open best:
1st round (2003)
Recent record:
2003: 1st round
2002: N/A
2001: N/A
The fact that Verkerk is seeded is largely down to two remarkable weeks at the French Open last June.

The Dutchman stormed into the final with victories over Rainer Schuettler, Carlos Moya and Guillermo Coria, before his form finally deserted him against Juan Carlos Ferrero.

At 6ft 5in, Verkerk has a huge serve and tremendous power off both sides, meaning he can be virtually unplayable when the force is with him.

In a stunning four months up to the French Open, Verkerk also won his first title in 2003, beating Yevgeny Kafelnikov on indoor carpet in Basel, and reached the quarter-finals at the Rome Masters.

But Verkerk struggled with elevated expectations after his Roland Garros exploits.

In 10 events, he won only four matches.

Add to that fact that in the five Grand Slams he has played Verkerk has lost in the first round three times, the second round once and reached the final in the other, it is fair to say lack of consistency is a problem.

However, he did give his confidence a much-needed boost with an impressive run at the Sydney International in the week prior to the Australian Open.

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