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Djokovic, Thiem, Tsitsipas, Medvedev, and Rublev Part Of Vienna Tennis • One Of Best-Ever 500-Point Events

Novak Djokovic of Serbia (L) and Dominic Thiem of Austria (R) pose for photographs during a press conference of the Erste Bank Open ATP tennis tournament in Vienna, Austria, 25 October 2020.

By Ricky Dimon

With the the 500-point event in Basel cancelled and no longer sharing this week on the schedule, plus players being eager for more tennis at the end of a season that was cut in half, the 2020 Erste Bank Open in Vienna has become one of the best 500-pointers ever.

The field includes Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Diego Schwartzman, Gael Monfils, and Denis Shapovalov as the eight seeds. Among the unseeded contingent are Stan Wawrinka, Karen Khachanov, Grigor Dimtrov, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Alex de Minaur, Pablo Carreno Busta, Kei Nishikori, and Jannik Sinner.

Djokovic is in action for the first time since finishing runner-up to Rafael Nadal at the French Open and will kick off his campaign in an all-Serb affair with Filip Krajinovic. The world No. 1 would then meet either Borna Coric or Taylor Fritz in round two before potentially running into current Cologne finalist Diego Schwartzman.

“You have six out of the Top 10 players playing here at an ATP 500 event,” Djokovic noted. “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.”

Novak Djokovic of Serbia during a press conference of the Erste Bank Open ATP tennis tournament in Vienna, Austria, 25 October 2020.

Tsitsipas, who lost to Djokovic at Roland Garros in a five-set semifinal, also headlines the top of the Vienna bracket. The draw is difficult for just about everyone, and the fifth-ranked Greek is no exception. He opens against Jan-Lennard Struff before possibly facing Dimitrov or Khachanov in round two and Shapovalov in the quarterfinals.

The bottom quarter is highlighted by three players in stellar form. Thiem won the U.S. Open and is the defending champion in Vienna, where he is obviously the fan favorite as well. Rublev is tied with Djokovic for the 2020 lead with four ATP titles. Sinner made a run to the Roland Garros quarters and is coming off a semifinal showing in Cologne. Rublev is on a collision course with Sinner for round two and Thiem in the last eight.

First-round matches to watch include Coric vs. Fritz, Tsitsipas vs. Struff, Dimitrov vs. Khachanov, Monfils vs. Carreno Busta, Medvedev vs. de Minaur, and Thiem vs. Nishikori.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.