The main draw of this year’s MercedesCup (€ 701,975 total financial commitment) at Stuttgart’s Weissenhof brought some great match-ups already in the first round. Last year’s finalist Philipp Kohlschreiber “helped” with the drawing. However, he will have to face a though opponent in Marcos Baghdatis from Cyprus in the first round. “That’s certainly not an easy lot, but what’s easy here? There are a lot of great match-ups in the first round already and I got one of them. Baghdatis plays well on grass. But I also had a good run last year and I’m feeling fit and ready”, said the native from Augsburg.
Kohlschreiber will play his first match on Tuesday (13 June 2017), just like Tommy Haas who will face Frenchman Pierre-Hugues Herbert. If the German wins, he will meet superstar Roger Federer on Wednesday. A player who is a long-time friend of Haas. “The first round certainly won’t be easy for Tommy, but he can do it. I think he’s well prepared and never forget that he is a great grass court-player”, concedes Kohlschreiber, thinking that his compatriot will have every chance to set up the match-up with 18-time Grand Slam winner Federer. On Sunday, Federer and Haas will hold a public practice at 1.30 pm on the Center Court.
Maximilian Marterer, who received the final Wildcard for the main draw, was also dealt a tough draw in no. 5 seeded Steve Johnson. The American (ATP no. 26) won his first ATP title last year in Nottingham – also on grass court. Florian Mayer, who sensationally won the title in Halle after already reaching the quarter final at Stuttgart, will clash with Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, who already won 2009 in Stuttgart – back then still played on clay.
No. 6 seed Mischa Zverev will start his bid for the MercedesCup title against Malek Jaziri from Tunisia. The Australian Open quarter finalist from this year has fond memories of Weissenhof, as he reached the round of the last eight after coming through the qualification the last time he played here. Jan-Lennard Struff will learn who his opponent will be on Sunday evening after the qualification is completed. With Peter Gojowczyk, Yannick Hanfmann and Yannick Maden three Germans successfully got through the first round of the qualification. One of the four tickets left for the main draw will be awarded to the winner of Gojowczyk against Belgian Ruben Bemelmans.