Main draw has started on a sunny Monday at the BMW Open by FWU AG, taking place in Bavaria’s capital city of Munich, which is the first of four German tournaments on the ATP World Tour calendar 2015.
The International Tennis Championships of Bavaria was first held in 1900 but first staged at Munich’s Iphitos Tennis Club in 1974. Germans have won the title six times since then, most recently Tommy Haas in 2013. The 37-year-old, however, was forced to withdraw from the tournament due to his ongoing shoulder problems. Consequently, the only former German champion in the field is Philipp Kohlschreiber, who spoke to the media ahead of his first round match on Tuesday against Jiri Vesely.
“Of course I want to achieve a better result than last year, when I lost in the opening round. The tournament is very strong, so you need to play your best tennis right from the beginning to survive the first round,” the two-time Munich champion told.
“I played some good clay court events and I feel good. I know the conditions here good and I hope that I am able to deal well with my own expectations, nervousness and the pressure. I met Jiri once before in Roland Garros two years ago. I won in four sets and it was pretty tough. He is a leftie with a big serve, standing close to the line and always tries to dictate the speed of the rallies. He played well and made it into the final in Bucharest last week gaining a lot of confidence. But it could also be that he is maybe a bit tired, which would be a positive thing,” the German told with a smile.
“I think it is a great thing for the tournament that Andy plays in Munich this year. There are only a few players, who have a global importance to the tennis sport and sell tickets worldwide, and he is one of them. Of course, it’s not good news for the other players, as it makes it even more difficult here. Maybe his wedding or that he is playing his first clay court event of the season might be a fact and makes it more difficult for him. Nonetheless, he is the favourite for claiming the title and we could only meet in the final, so at the moment I am just focused on my first round match,” Kohlschreiber commented Andy Murray’s debut in Munich.
In the first main draw match Victor Estrella Burgos defeated Viktor Troicki winning 7-6, 6-4. The 34-year-old from the Dominican Republic withstood eight aces and saved all two break points he had to face to seal victory in one hour and 37 minutes.
Alexander Zverev has returned to Munich for a second time in a row to take on fellow German Benjamin Becker. Zverev, who just turned 18 on April 20, is one of Munich’s wild cards and rallied back from a set down to overcome his compatriot in one hour and 23 minutes winning 4-6, 6-1, 6-2.
“I just had a look at the stats and I think that Benny only made six points at my serve but was still able to gain a break. He played well in the opening set with good serves. In the second I started to return better, the second game was good and I am happy how the match developed then,” Zverev analysed afterwards.
“I have got more experience on ATP World Tour level now. I am calmer on the court compared to last year here in Munich. I have improved in physical terms. I also work with Jess Green, former fitness coach of Andy Murray. I think he helped me a lot. We worked together for two weeks in the off-season last year and now I feel stronger on the court,” the 18-year-old stated.
“I think I played pretty well in Sarasota when I lost to Bagnis in the opening round, who later won the tournament, missing five match points. I feel good here on clay and I think that I can go on playing well,” said Zverev, who almost played the entire US-swing.
“Of course, I still have to go through the qualification at most of the ATP events but I hope that this will change when I will crack the top 100. There are a lot of young players in the top of the rankings with Kyrgios, Coric and Kokkinakis. I hope that this young generation will get to the top early and stay there. I think, we are big guys but also move well on the court,” the world number 119 said and added: “If I have to choose one of the young generation, I think Kokkinakis will become the best.”
“I hope that the German will win,” said Zverev about his preferred opponent in the next round facing the winner of Kohlschreiber and Vesely. “Kohli has always been nice to me. He practiced with me, also at times when I was still lower ranked and not at my best. He was very helpful and when I had a question about players or so, I always had the chance to ask him. So it would be great to face him on court.”
Radek Stepanek was the first qualifier on Monday, who secured his main draw spot beating Bastian Trinker 6-2, 6-2 in 64 minutes. The 36-year-old Czech is on the comeback trail after a back injury and will meet Farrukh Dustov to play his first ATP event since losing to Vasek Pospisil in the opening round in Cincinnati in August last year.
Qualifying’s top-seed Dustin Brown also made it into the main draw. The German had to fight hard saving two match points against Nils Langer to eventually seal victory in two hours and six minutes winning 6-3, 4-6, 7-6.
With Gerald Melzer beating Mikhail Ledovskikh 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 and Mischa Zverev taking out second seed Norbert Gombos 7-6, 6-2, the main draw in Munich has been completed.
At 3:45pm, however, bad news arrived in Munich. Second-seed Gael Monfils announced his withdrawal from the tournament due to knee injury. Mikhail Ledovskikh and Bastian Trinker will replace the Frenchman as well as defending champion Martin Klizan, who pulled out yesterday. The 24-year-old Austrian gained his first ever main draw spot on the ATP World Tour facing Fabio Fognini in the opening round. Melzer has succeeded Monfils’ place in the draw and consequently receives a bye in the first round.