STUTTGART, June 2, 2016
On Thursday afternoon, Philipp Kohlschreiber and Taylor Fritz attended the last news conference ahead of the start of the €675,465 Mercedes Cup, kicking-off the grass court season on the ATP World Tour next Saturday. The pair arrived at the Restaurant Leonhardts, located inside Stuttgart’s television tower.
Roger Federer will be the tournament’s top-seed, but there will be tough competition for the world number three appearing at the venue of the Tennis Club Weissenhof.
2014 US-Open champion Marin Cilic and Dominic Thiem, who just reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros, will be the main contenders for Federer. Gilles Simon, Feliciano López, Grigor Dimitrov and last year’s runner-up Viktor Troicki will join the two in hunt for title in Stuttgart. Juan Martin Del Potro received a wild card.
Philipp Kohlschreiber will be flying the German flag and is looking forward to return to the Mercedes Cup. “It is always great to play at home, getting the support from the spectators. Family and friends often attend the tournaments in Germany, who can provide a sense of tranquillity and confidence,” the world number 26 told on Thursday afternoon.
Kohlschreiber recently lifted the trophy at the BMW Open in Munich and is still missing a triumph on home soil in Hamburg as well as in Stuttgart. In 2013, he finished runner-up to Fabio Fognini, when the tournament was still held on clay.
“Fabio played very well back then,” Kohlschreiber had to admit. “He deserved to win, but of course it is still a goal for me to capture the title here.”
Since 2015, the tournament switched the surface to grass with Rafael Nadal winning the inaugural edition.
“Last year was really a great week here in Stuttgart. The venue surpassed all of my expectations. The quality of the grass courts was excellent. I also enjoy playing in front of the spectators in Stuttgart. Those are the main reasons, why I am really looking forward to the coming week,” the highest ranked German explained and will probably be the tournament’s number seven.
As in the past, the champion of Stuttgart’s ATP 250 event will not only receive a prize money of € 107,900 but also a brand new Mercedes-Benz SL 500.
“It would be an exciting new experience for me to win the car. Mercedes produces great cars and there would be still enough space in my garage for it,” Kohlschreiber added with a smile.
Taylor Fritz will be the main representative of the Next Generation coming to Stuttgart. The 18-year-old US-American is currently the youngest player ranked inside the top 100 and received the “ITF Boys World Champion 2015 Award” in Paris this week.
He also hit the headlines by getting engaged with his girl-friend Raquel Pedraza in the city of love. Tournament director Edwin Weindorfer congratulated the teenager on taking this step and presented him a cake.
The event will start on Saturday with the first round of the qualification. The top-four-seeds of the main draw will receive a bye in the opening round.