The ATP 500 Hamburg European Open will take place between July 22-28 at the Rothenbaum Tennis Center, providing the last opportunity for clay courters to earn big points in 2019. World no. 4 Dominic Thiem and Fabio Fognini should be the leading title contenders, with Nikoloz Basilashvili, Laslo Djerej, Benoit Paire, Christian Garin, Jan-Lennard Struff, Marco Cecchinato, Richard Gasquet, Pablo Cuevas, Filip Krajinovic and Casper Ruud also in action.
As was expected, the organizers have given a wild card to the young German gun Rudolf Molleker who will play at this event for the third year in a row at the age of 18! The Severodonetsk native had turned pro two years ago and made solid progress in the last 12 months, having been ranked outside the top-300 a year ago at this time.
Rudolf has been ranked inside the top-150 for the first time this week and will have a chance to seek more ATP points in front of the home fans in Halle, receiving an invitation to join Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev in the main draw.
Rudolf had qualified for the Australian Open main draw in January before losing eight straight matches by the end of March, unable to find the form or 'A game.' That all changed in Sophia Antipolis, Murcia and Francavilla, gathering the momentum again and winning a match at the ATP event in Munich, his third overall on the main Tour level.
Rudolf had qualified for the main draw at Roland Garros, losing to Alexander Bublik in a tight opening round match before going all the way to reach the final of Poznan Challenger where he lost to Tommy Robredo in three sets.
Back in 2016, Molleker had qualified for the main draw in Hamburg, becoming the first player born in 2000 with an ATP match, receiving a wild card a year ago as well to beat great David Ferrer.