MUNICH, April 25, 2016
After a wintery qualifying weekend, main draw action of the BMW Open by FWU AG kicked off on a chilly and snow-interrupted Monday at the MTTC Iphitos in Munich.
Santiago Giraldo set a second round meeting with the tournament’s number three Dominic Thiem. The 28-year-old from Colombia outlasted Sarasota Open champion Mischa Zverev in the opening match on centre court, winning 7-5, 7-6. Giraldo capitalized on five of his seven break point chances to prevail in two hours and 14 minutes.
Lukas Rosol overcame Denis Istomin 6-7, 6-4, 7-6 to secure his third consecutive win over the Uzbek in the pair’s fourth tour meeting. Rosol withstood 11 aces, hitting three of his own to finish the encounter after two hours and four minutes.
Ivan Dodig dismissed Ernests Gulbis, winning 7-6, 6-2. The 31-year-old Croat sent down four aces and won 75% of his first service points to advance after one hour and 33 minutes. Dodig will take on Thomaz Bellucci next, who benefited from the retirement of Mikhail Youzhny with sickness, leading 6-3, 1-0.
Ahead of his opening match, Juan Martin Del Potro, who completed his practice session in t-shirt and shorts, met the media later the afternoon.
“It’s great to come back after eight years. The tournament has improved a lot. The courts are fine. The facilities for the players are great and I feel comfortable here,” told the 27-year-old Argentine, who reached the 2008 Munich quarterfinals in his only previous appearance.
When he was asked why he chose Munich over the other two ATP World Tour events held this week in Istanbul and Estoril he simply stated: “Because of the weather,” followed by laughter.
“I like this tournament. I have great memories from the last time I played here. I won my first title in Germany as well. I decided to come to Munich, as the tournament director gave me a wild card and I hope I can enjoy the week here with all my German fans.”
Del Potro will open his Munich campaign with his first clay court match in nearly three years against Dustin Brown on Tuesday. Since falling to Benoit Paire at the ATP Masters 1000 in Rome in May 2013, the “Tower of Tandil” has endured three surgeries to his left wrist.
“The wrist is ok. It’s been improving week by week but, of course, it still needs time to get the confidence back competing at highest level. It just takes time but the doctor says that everything will be allright in the future. This week will be my first on clay in three years. This is something important to me. I am looking forward to a great match tomorrow and I will keep working hard to get to my best level as soon as possible.
“My family and my team supported me all the time,” he told about staying positive during the time when he was sidelined from the courts. “Because of them, I have never considered to give up. Now I am feeling better and I hope that I will stay healthy in order to play tennis for the rest of my career.”
Del Potro had to cope with more injuries in the past and 2016 is not his first comeback year on the tour.
“It’s maybe more difficult now, as I am getting older,” he told with a smile. “But my tennis is still there. My forehand is still fast. My serves are ok at the moment but I still have to work on my backhand and my movement. There are a couple of young players on the tour now like Zverev or Kyrgios with a great level of play and I want to keep pace with them in the future.
Concerning his biggest triumph, winning the US-Open title in 2009, he said:
“This tournament was unbelievable and it will be always in my heart. I will never forget those two weeks. I do not know, if I am able to repeat something like that but for now I am just happy to play tennis without any pain again. My health is the most important thing for me at the moment.”
Del Potro is still good friends with former world number one Roger Federer, whom he beat three times in his career.
“For me Federer is the greatest tennis player in history at the moment. I don’t know what will happen with Djokovic or Rafa. He is also the number one off the courts.”
After his two practice sessions on Monday, it was time to spend the evening with football.
“My team is Boca Juniors, the biggest team in the world. I watched the Superclásico yesterday with my laptop in the restaurant but it was boring,” he told about the goalless draw in the Argentine football league match between Boca Juniors and River Plate on Monday night.
Even more important to him will be his opening match on Tuesday in Munich and the question in which weather conditions it is going to take place.
“I have never played in the snow but it could be funny. We will see tomorrow.”