Nick Kyrgios, Alexander Zverev and Dominic Thiem to play exhibition tennis matches in Berlin in July
Thiem, Zverev and Kyrgios will be joined by Jannik Sinner for the men’s events
Berlin: Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and Nick Kyrgios will play exhibition tennis matches in Berlin in July.
With professional tennis shut down during the coronavirus pandemic, organizers said Friday one exhibition event will run from 13-15 July on grass at Steffi Graf Stadium. The other is on a hard court in a hangar in the city’s closed Tempelhof airport from 17-19 July.
Each of the Bett1 Aces tournaments will feature six men and six women and there will be 200,000 euros ($222,000) in total prize money.
Thiem, Zverev and Kyrgios will be joined by Jannik Sinner for the men’s events. Two more players will be announced later.
Elina Svitolina, Kiki Bertens, Julia Goerges and Andrea Petkovic will be in the women’s events. Two places are still to be confirmed.
Matches will have a super tiebreaker replacing the third set to avoid fatigue for players facing a potential six matches in seven days. There will be electronic line calls with no line judges to reduce the number of people involved on the court.
Edwin Weindorfer, the CEO of the company organizing the exhibitions, said the plan was to have 80-90 people in the stadium to host games. That includes players, umpires, TV staff and coaches. He added that if there's a change in the law by July, a limited number of spectators could be permitted, perhaps with a limit of 500 or 1,000.
Organizers are working on arrangements to allow Kyrgios to travel to Germany from Australia for the events.
The exhibition week replaces a WTA tournament in Berlin which was set for June but called off. It had been meant to mark the return of tour-level tennis to Berlin for the first time since 2008 when the International German Championships was last played on the WTA Tour.
Some smaller exhibitions have been played in Germany already during the pandemic, with other events in the United States and elsewhere.
Despite winning the opening set on a tie-breaker, Zverev, the 2017 and 2018 Munich champion, bowed out 7-6 (7/5), 5-7, 3-6 after Ivashka of Belarus converted his first match point.
Thiem won 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-0 in two hours and 33 minutes against 44th-ranked Fucsovics in the clay-court tournament which acts as a warm-up for the French Open in which the Austrian has twice finished runner-up.
Nadal's path to a possible sixth Madrid title was cleared of second seeded Daniil Medvedev and fourth-seeded Monte Carlo champion Stefanos Tsitsipas who were both shock third round losers.