HEILBRONN, March 25, 2016
There is yet more than one month until the start of the third edition of the Neckar Cup but preparations in Heilbronn have already started. From 7 to 15 May the ATP Challenger Tour will return to the sixth largest city in the German state of Baden-Württemberg.
Seven weeks ahead of the tournament’s start, the organizers informed the media about the new features this year. The most important modification is the increase in prize money from €42,500 to €64,000.
“The winner will now earn 100 instead of 80 ATP ranking points,” tournament director Metehan Cebeci told. “A difference of 20 points can be significant for players ranked between 80 and 200.”
Defending champion Alexander Zverev, who lifted his second trophy on the ATP Challenger Tour in Heilbronn last year will probably not return to the city on the Neckar River. The 18-year-old German is currently ranked on 52nd position, part of ATP’s “Next-Gen-campaign” and has already established himself on the ATP World Tour.
“Unfortunately, there is no other young German player in sight at the moment,” Cebeci said but has already awarded the first of four wild cards to a local player, as Florian Mayer will return to the courts. The former world number 18 had to cope with injuries in the last couple of years. Mayer missed almost the entire season 2014 and has been sidelined from the courts again since the US-Open last year due to adductor problems. The 32-year-old dropped in rankings to 217th position but has alreday started his comeback. “I started to practice again three weeks ago. Due to the increase in prize money, the tournament in Heilbronn has become very attractive for many players,” Mayer stated.
Cebeci hopes for an entry list as good as last year. “We would like to welcome at least four players from the top 100,” he set the objective for the 2016 edition. The tournament is taking place the same week as the ATP Masters 1000 in Rome and has to compete with three other ATP Challenger events held in Bordeaux, Seoul and Samarkand.