Rafael Nadal winning his 11th title at Roland Garros on Sunday, June 10 marked the end of the clay-court swing this season. The action shifts to grass as Stuttgart Open (Mercedes Cup) kicks-off on Monday, June 11 in Stuttgart, Germany.
All eyes will be on Roger Federer at the ATP 250 tournament as the 20-time Grand Slam champion returns to competitive action after skipping the entire clay-court swing for the second time in as many years. The Swiss great has not played since his second-round defeat at Miami Open in March.
Federer will be hoping to shake off the rust as he begins preparation for his title defence in Wimbledon, starting July 2. Notably, the 36-year-old had suffered a shock second-round defeat to Tommy Haas at Stuttgart last year.
Can Federer make a mark at Stuttgart?
The top seed, who has a 2-2 record in Stuttgart, could start his campaign against the winner of the first-round match between Mikhail Youzhny and Mischa Zverev. Both the Russian and the German have not been in the best of their forms during the ongoing season and are unlikely to match Federer.
However, the eight-time Wimbledon champion may face a tough test in the quarter-final if he meets sixth Denis Shapovalov. The powerful left-hander has enjoyed a good run on the red dirt this season, reaching the semi-final at Madrid Open.
Shapovalov has only one tour-level match on grass so far but has the firepower to challenge a rusty Federer. The 19-year-old Canadian will play another southpaw in Indian qualifier Prajnesh Gunneswaran, who has qualified for the main draw of a tour-level tournament for the first time.
I'm back again and I'll give my best to go deeper this year. We will see how it goes in the first match. It'll be my first match in three months, so I'm missing some match practice. I think the grass is better than in the past years. Let's hope for some better weather," Federer said, as quoted by ATP's official website.
Meanwhile, fit-again Nick Kyrgios is seeded fourth and is likely to face 22-year-old Maximilian Marterer, who is heading to Stuttgart on the back of a fourth-round appearance at Roland Garros.
Defending champion Lucas Pouille headlines the second half of the draw. The Frenchman may face fifth seed Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany in the quarter-final.
Former Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic is heading into the tournament after having skipped French Open due to a knee injury. Seventh seed Raonic and fourth seed Tomas Berdych are likely to meet in the last-eight round.
Predicted quarter-final line-up
- Roger Federer (1) vs Denis Shapovalov
- Maximilian Marterer vs Feliciano Lopez (8)
- Milos Raonic (7) vs Tomas Berdych (3)
- Lucas Pouille (2) vs Philipp Kohlschreiber (5)
Stuttgart Open: Global TV listings and live stream
The television schedule for UK and US will be updated soon. There is no TV coverage in India.
International live streaming: ATP official website