Lucas Pouille is the latest entry in a long line of Federer-challengers

Stuttgart,

Roger Federer is the clear-cut favorite to win the title at the MercedesCup 2017. But the 18-times Grand Slam tournament winner will have to face heavy competition to win the coveted ATP-title at Weissenhof (total prize money 701,975).

The latest entry is Lucas Pouille, who reached the quarter finals at Wimbledon and the US Open in the 2016. On his way to reach the round of the last eight at Wimbledon he beat players like Juan Martin del Potro (who would go on to win the silver medal at the Olympics) and Bernard Tomic. At the US Open Pouille he overpowered Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal in the tie-break of the fifth set. The 23 year old Frenchman has already won two ATP titles in Metz (2016) and Budapest (2017) and is the current number 17 in the world. He also reached the final of Marseille and the semi-final in Dubai and Monte Carlo this season.

Don’t forget about Grigor Dimitrov in Stuttgart! The Bulgarian has had a superb start into the season winning in Brisbane and Sofia and reaching the semi-final at the Australian Open in Melbourne. He also reached the semi-final in Wimbledon 2014, thus showing that he also likes to play on grass. One of his six ATP-titles to date also came on grass: in 2014 the 26 year old won at London’s Queen’s Club.

Then there’s also Tomas Berdych from the Czech Republic, against whom Roger Federer even had to fend off two match balls in Miami’s quarter-final. You just have to look at his Wimbledon stats, to see how much the 31-year old likes to play on grass: Berdych reached the Wimbledon final in 2010 and the semi-final last year, where he was beaten by Andy Murray, who would go on to win the tournament. Furthermore, he also reached the quarter-final at Church Road in 2007 and 2013.

Also look out for Steve Johnson. The American showed his prowess on grass by winning the title at Nottingham last year. He won his second ATP title this season in Houston. Last year, Johnson was stopped in Wimbledon only in the round of the last sixteen – by Roger Federer. There are also Viktor Troicki, Feliciano Lopez and Bernard Tomic – a trio which has shown considerable skill on grass in the past. Troicki from Serbia reached the final at Weissenhof in 2015, where he demanded everything of eventual winner Rafael Nadal. Spaniard Lopez has wone the grass court tournament in Eastbourne in 2013 and 2014. And Stuttgart born Australian Tomic sensationally reached the quarter-final in Wimbledon after having to fight his way all the way up through the qualification.

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