HALLE, June 17, 2018
The grass-court swing on the ATP World Tour continues with the 26th edition of the GERRY WEBER OPEN in Halle next week. The ATP 500 event has crowned six German winners since the inaugural event in 1993: Michael Stich (1994), Nicolas Kiefer (1999), David Prinosil (2000), Tommy Haas (2009 & 2012), Philipp Kohlschreiber (2011) and Florian Mayer (2016). Defending champion is Roger Federer, who won his ninth title last year.
The Swiss maestro will open his title bid against Aljaz Bedene from Slovenia. Federer won the only previous meeting between the two at the Australian Open earlier this season. The 36-year-old has returned to the tour from a 11-week hiatus in Stuttgart, where he advanced to the final and regained the No. 1 spot in the ATP rankings.
“It’s not an easy, but a manageble draw for Roger,” tournament director Ralf Weber said during Saturday’s main draw ceremony on the NRW-Local-Radio stage.
German superstar Alexander Zverev will face a stiff first-round challenge, taking on Croatian young gun Borna Coric. The latter leads their head-to-head records 2-1.
“This will probably be one of the most spectacular matches in the opening round,” Weber stated.
Thiem arrives in Halle
Dominic Thiem, who finished runner-up to Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros will be tournament’s third seed, taking on a qualifier or a lucky loser.
“We watched all of his matches in Paris with great excitement. It was a great performance at the French Open,” Weber said.“I’m curious how Dominic is now competing in Halle.”
The 24-year-old Austrian arrived late Friday evening in the GERRY WEBER SPORTPARK HOTEL and started his first practice sessions on grass.
“It is a very strong field. But I’m looking forward to playing in Halle again. I relaxed a bit and recharged my batteries,” Thiem commented.