STUTTGART, June 10 ,2018
All eyes are on Roger Federer in Stuttgart, as the Swiss Maestro will play his first tournament since Miami at the MercedesCup. The 36-year-old, who can regain the No. 1 spot in the ATP Rankings on 18 June by reaching the final, seeks his first title at the ATP 250 grass-court event.
However, there is a strong field attempting to keep him from doing so. No. 2 seed and defending champion Lucas Pouille, talented Aussie Nick Kyrgios and #NextGenATP Canadian Denis Shapovalov are among the challengers standing in Federer’s way. Former Wimbledon finalists Tomas Berdych and Milos Raonic are also looking to get off to a good start to the grass-court swing.
— Florian Heer (@Florian_Heer) 10. Juni 2018
While Rafael Nadal was playing the final against Dominic Thiem at Roland Garros, 600 kilometres east of Paris, Federer arrived in Stuttgart at 5 pm local time, followed by a first practice session with Philipp Kohlschreiber on Centre Court of the Tennis Club Weissenhof.
“The grass does not only look amazing, it is also great to play on,” Federer told afterwards and explained how he spent his around 80 days off the courts. “My wife turned 40, so we had some great time with the family. I was also on tour with my foundation.” The Roger Federer Foundation strengthened its engagement in Zambia and has started a new partnership with the local non-profit organisation ZOCS.
Federer will open his title bid against the winner of the encounter between Mischa Zverev of Germany and Russian qualifier Mikhail Youzhny. The eight-time Wimbledon champion receives a first-round bye.
Main draw action kicks off on Monday with the first five singles matches including Jan-Lennard Struff, who last year had an epic fight with the later tournament winner Lucas Pouille, taking on German youngster Rudolf Molleker. The 17-year-old is currently ranked World No. 301 and clinched his maiden title on the ATP Challenger Tour in Heilbronn only two weeks ago. Molleker will make his main draw debut at the MercedesCup thanks to a wild card.
Later in the day, No. 6 seed Denis Shapovalov will be challenged by Indian qualifier Prajnesh Gunneswaran. Ahead of his first match on Wedensday, Federer will meet the media on Monday afternoon.