After ten weeks of forced pause due to the coronavirus pandemic, Austrian Dominic Thiem, number three in world tennis, will return to professional competition from May 25 in the Generali Austrian Pro Series, a local tournament endowed with 151,750 euros. Organized by the tennisnet.com platform under the leadership of Alexander Antonitsch, an Austrian former professional tennis player, 16 men and eight women will play, all Austrians.
The tournament will be held in a sports center south of Vienna, without the presence of the public or line umpires or ball boys. Only the players and the central referee will be on the field of play, according to tennisnet.com. The 16 men will play in four groups of four players, while the women will do so in two groups of four.
Apart from Thiem, the current world number 85, Dennis Novak, as well as veteran Jürgen Melzer (former number eight in the ATP ranking) stand out among the participants, who returns for this occasion to an individual tournament. Among the women, the top favorite is Barbara Haas, current world number 137, while Tamira Paszek, former world number 26, returns to the courts after being out of the WTA ranking for the past three seasons.
Austria was one of the European countries who sooner returned to allow outdoor sports activities after weeks of restrictions due to the expansion of the coronavirus. Professional athletes, such as tennis players and footballers, have been training in the Alpine republic since April 20, while restrictions were lifted for fans on May 1.