Following a disappointing end to his 2020 Grand Slam season, Novak Djokovic will be back on the tennis courts this week to headline a loaded Vienna event which boasts 8 players in the Top 12.
Joining Djokovic will be Austrian favorite and defending champion Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev and Cologne 2 finalist Diego Schwartzman.
Djokovic is appearing in Vienna for the first time since his 2007 title over Stan Wawrinka.
“You have six out of the Top 10 players playing here at an ATP 500 event,” Djokovic said. “I think this must be if not the hardest or toughest men’s draw of all-time at a 500-category event, then definitely one of the hardest ones that we have ever seen, that I was ever part of. So the quality of matches from the first round will be very, very high.
“It’s great to be here. I have some amazing memories from this city. I haven’t been to Vienna and I haven’t participated in the tournament here for 13 years. The last time I was here I won the tournament and I had great support,” he added. “This is definitely one of the best tournaments in this category.”
Djokovic opens against countryman Filip Krajinovic, then either Taylor Fritz or Borna Coric. He could face Schwartzman in the quarters then either Tsitsipas or Denis Shapovalov possibly in the semifinals.
Tsitsipas opens with Jan-Lennard Struff and then would meet a tough Karen Khachanov-Grigor Dimitrov winner from the first round.
In the bottom half, Thiem begins his title defense with Kei Nishikori and then could face Wawrinka in the second round. The red-hot Rublev might be a foe in the quarters with Gael Monfils or Daniil Medvedev lurking in the quarters.
“It’s always special to start as a defending champion at a tournament, but this year is unreal, the whole draw,” Thiem said. “It was strong and then Novak arrived and it got unreal even. Probably the best [ATP] 500 tournament ever. Defending the title is not mission impossible, but almost.”
Djokovic commented he’s already practiced with Thiem.
“We had a practice this morning and we were so intense that I was thinking we were already playing the final,” Djokovic said Sunday. “I respect Dominic so much and what he has done for tennis is tremendous, especially this year obviously winning his first Grand Slam. He deserves it more than anybody else. He’s a hard worker, a great guy with a great team. Hopefully we can have that chance to play.
“Obviously that’s probably something that the people would want to see here,” he continued. “It’s a long way. Even though that’s something that we are all anticipating, we both want that, to be in the final of course. But the field is very strong, so we have to take one day at a time.”
You Might Like:
Murray Looks to Close Further on No. 1 Djokovic at Vienna Open
Juan Martin Del Potro Withdraws, Thomas Muster to Play Vienna
Svitolina, 6 of Top 10, Loaded Floaters Field at WTA Dubai
Williams Sisters, Loaded Field at WTA Rome
Zverev, Thiem Lead Next Gen Surge at ATP Vienna; Preview