STARNBERG/SOFIA, November 14, 2020
While teen sensation Jannik Sinner was competing in the final of the Sofia Open, capturing his maiden title on the ATP Tour, in his home region of South Tyrol the main draw for the 2020 Sparkassen Challenger Val Gardena Südtirol was made. The ATP Challenger 80 event will be held at the Tennis Club Ortisei from November 14 to 22, however, without its local hero.
— Florian Heer (@Florian_Heer) November 17, 2019
World No. 44 Sinner, who celebrated his first match win on the Challenger Tour at the Val Gardena tournament and is its reigning champion, has finished his season following his triumph in Bulgaria. Tennis TourTalk asked him about the reasons.
“I wanted to play in Ortisei because I celebrated my first Challenger match win there two years ago, which was very special for me. I appreciated the wild card,” Sinner said in his virtual post-match press conference in Sofia.
“Next year I won and I wanted to play there this year as well, but as a Top 50 player you cannot compete in an ATP Challenger 80 event, which I didn’t know. The tournament would have needed to go up with Ranking points and prize money but I said ‘No, no – just for me, don’t do it’. There is also not much time between the end of the season and the start of next year because if we go to Australia it can be quite early, around December 15. We will spend about three weeks during the off-season in Monaco and the rest will be finished in Australia.”
Uchiyama top seed in Ortisei
As a consequence, this year’s field in Ortisei is led by World No. 102 Yasustaka Uchiyama of Japan. The 28-year-old will open his title bid against Frenchman Alexandre Muller. No. 2 seed Ilya Ivashka from Belarus will start against Matteo Viola of Italy. Aslan Karatsev, a winner of two ATP Challenger titles this season in the Czech Republic, is seeded third. The 27-year-old Russian will return to the Challenger Circuit for the first time since lifting the trophy of the Ostrava Open in early September.
Instead of Sinner, all Italian eyes will be on Lorenzo Musetti this year. The 18-year-old local hero is seeded fourth and will open his home campaign against compatriot Roberto Marcora. Musetti clinched his maiden Challenger title on home soil in Forli two months ago. The only player from South Tyrol in the singles main draw will be Patric Prinoth. The 24-year-old from St. Christina will play Briton Jay Clarke in the first round.
📸: Marko Wanker pic.twitter.com/I1ZAHi8fwG
— Florian Heer (@Florian_Heer) November 14, 2020