VIENNA, October 29, 2016
Packed stands and a great atmosphere inside the Stadthalle in Vienna with three former champions in the semi-finals on schedule at the Erste Bank Open 500 could have led to a tennis festival on Saturday. Unfortunately only one of them was in action. At quarter past three, tournament director Herwig Straka entered the press room with bad news, announcing that David Ferrer was staying in a private hospital being unable to compete.
The 34-year-old Spaniard was forced to withdraw from the highly-expected “clash of the champions” with world number two and Vienna top seed Andy Murray due to a left leg injury. Ferrer, who saved one match point in his three-set win over Viktor Troicki on Friday, would have met Murray for a second time in Austria’s capital city. The Brit defeated Ferrer in the 2014 final in three sets. Ferrer is the tournament’s defending champion.
“I knew that David had an injury at the beginning of the week, I think with his arm,” Murray told. “Then, he obviously played a very long match yesterday. That’s unfortunate for him. He is one of the more robust players. He doesn’t often pull out of matches, so he must be in pain. I try to get ready for the final, using today a bit as a rest day, practice a bit on centre court.”
Murray will appear in his 11th final of the season. “I am looking forward to tomorrow. It is going to be a tough one. Ivo and Jo-Wilfried are big servers and like playing indoors but I am trying to finish the season as strong as I can. Being in another final is obviuosly good. It has been a tough week. The last couple of matches were really tricky but now I will get the chance for another title and I hope to play my best match in the final.”
Before Murray was playing a champions tie-break against Austria’s Jürgen Melzer, Ferrer had come on centre court in order to speak to the fans. “I have a problem with my left leg. I felt some pain during the last two matches. I am disappointed but I hope to be ready for the next season, playing in Vienna again,” the 34-year-old Spaniard told. It was only the second time in 1,024 matches that Ferrer withdrew from an encounter on the ATP World Tour.