BOLZANO, October 27, 2016
The seventh edition of the Sparkassen ATP Challenger Val Gardena in Ortisei was officially presented on Thursday with a press conference, held at the Sparkassen Academy in Bolzano. The €64,000 ATP Challenger event takes place from 5 to 13 November 2016.
The entry list is led by world number 91 and defending champion Ricardas Berankis, who captured two ATP Challenger titles this season, winning in Gwangju and Nanjing. The 26-year-old from Lithuania defeated Rajeev Ram in last year’s final in Ortisei in straight sets. The US-American will also return to the valley in South Tyrol.
With Evgeny Donskoy from Russia another former top 100 will compete in the ATP Challenger event. The current world number 108, who made it to the stage of the final four here last year, lifted two Challenger trophies in 2016, winning in Raanana and Astana. German veteran Benjamin Becker will also return to Ortisei. The 35-year-old enjoys playing on fast surfaces and triumphed here in 2012 beating Andreas Seppi en-route to the title. It had been the only time the local hero lost a match at his home tournament. Seppi lifted the trophy in 2013 and 2014.
“I would have loved to compete in Ortisei again, as I live here now,” told Seppi. “However, I decided to end the season after the ATP Masters 1000 event in Paris in order to be prepared as good as possible for the Australian Open 2017.”
With Alessandro Giannessi, Luca Vanni, Federico Gaio, Stefano Napolitano as well as Andrea Arnaboldi, five Italians can be found in the entry list.
New Tournament Director And Logo
This year’s edition will be the first one after 17 years without Wolfgang Wanker as tournament director. His successor will be Ambros Hofer. Ellis Kasslatter remains head of the organization committee. The event also revealed a new logo.
“We are pleased with the entry list. We are looking forward to an exciting and even tournament,” Hofer told. “All four semi-finalists of last year will return. We tried to get one of the big names but Tommy Robredo and Jürgen Melzer decided to play the tournament in Bratislava, which takes place the same week but with higher prize money.”
The organizers were also in touch with Italy’s number one Paolo Lorenzi. “We can only award one wild card. We will either grant it to a well-known player or to one of the aspiring youngsters.” The other three invitations for the main draw will be given by the Italian Federation.