This year the Erste Bank Open once again boasts a high-quality field of participants.
In addition to US Open finalist Daniil Medvedev, other top stars such as Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Jannik Sinner will also be playing in the town hall.
As tournament director Herwig Straka reveals, participation by Medvedev’s final opponent and superstar Novak Djokovic is theoretically still an issue.
A total of eight players from the top 15 in the world rankings will play in Vienna. If “Djoker” also agrees, there would be nine and therefore almost two thirds of the world elite.
Will Ofner also get a wild card?
Dominic Thiem, who has already secured his wildcard, is also there. Another could go to the red-white-red number one Sebastian Ofner.
“We’ll generally look at what happens over the next few weeks. There are also some international players who are theoretically possible,” explains Straka.
“It has always been full over the last few years and the atmosphere has always been sensational. I hope it continues like this this year.”
Dominic Thiem is already looking forward to his home tournament
In any case, the wild cards will be left open until the end. But it is also clear that as an Austrian you “always have a starting advantage”.
“If Sebastian stays fit and continues to play so well,” he will get the wildcard, Straka continued. “Not just because he’s number one, but because he deserves it,” he explains.
Stars’ nice supporting program
But the event doesn’t just promise a lot in terms of sport. The surrounding area also has a lot to offer this year.
Stars such as Boris Becker, Anna Veith, Herbert Prohaska and Gerda Rodgers will be on site as part of the supporting program.
The atmosphere has always been good in recent years, especially in 2019, when local hero Dominic Thiem celebrated a celebrated home win.
“The development of the tournament is sensational,” said the winner from back then. The Erste Bank Open has developed from year to year and has become bigger and bigger.
What underlines this even more is the fact that it has become “almost a given” that the tournament is so well attended.
Thiem is looking forward to the atmosphere
Last year a new record was set by exceeding the 70,000 spectator mark.
“It’s always been full over the last few years and the atmosphere has always been sensational. I hope it continues like this this year,” says Thiem, looking forward to the competitions starting on October 24th.
The traditional tournament also wanted to take a step forward visually, as Straka explains. Since this year, the Erste Bank Open has had a changed logo and has, as it is called in modern German, a new “look and feel”.
The town hall as an event location is scheduled to be replaced in 2029.
Photo: © GEPA
The fans will expect “a new picture,” as Straka explains. The center court will appear in a stronger shade of blue than before, the outside surfaces will stand out even more thanks to their gray tone.
Straka said he was excited to see what “it looks like when you go into the hall.” Because the previous design has already been burned into the minds of long-time visitors “after almost 50 years of town hall”.
New arena should allow tournament to grow even further
The tournament is expected to grow even further in the future. Because the audience interest is enormous. “It feels like we could have sold twice as many tickets,” said tournament director Straka.
However, this requires the necessary infrastructure. This will be created in the coming years when the venerable town hall gets a successor.
This will be called “Wien-Holding-Arena” and will be built in Neu Marx. It will accommodate up to 20,000 people. The construction has already been decided and construction is scheduled to begin in 2025. The work is expected to be completed by 2029.
The 384 million euro project is largely financed by OVG Bristol, based in London. A company that specializes in the development of sports and entertainment events and was able to prevail in the bidding process.
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