POPRAD TATRY, June 11, 2016
Jürgen Melzer has returned to the tour after being sidelined from the courts for nine months. The 35-year-old Austrian played his last match at the 2015 US-Open, losing to Tomas Berdych in the second round.
Melzer has been struggling for years with persistent shoulder problems and underwent surgery last November. He is currently playing the qualifying of the €42,500 ATP Challenger in Poprad Tatry.
Melzer won his opening match 6-4, 6-1 over Illja Vucic. The former world number eight, who dropped to 341st position in the rankings, won 70% of his first service points and converted seven of his 11 break point chances to seal victory in 66 minutes.
“It’s nice to here the words ‘Game, Set and Match, Melzer’ – and not watching my brother,” he told afterwards. “It’s good to be back on the court and win. I am happy about it!”
He will next take on Czech veteran Jan Mertl. In case of getting into the main draw, Melzer could face his younger brother Gerald, who awaits a qualifier to start his campaign at the foot of the High Tatra Mountains. Adam Pavlasek, who claimed the ATP Challenger title in Prague on Saturday, will start to defend his title in Slovakia against Andrej Golubev. The tournament’s top-seed will be world number 51 and local hero Martin Klizan, who was granted a wild card. In his first round encounter, he will also take on a qualifier.
Watch the entire post-match interview with Jürgen Melzer here: