Dennis Novak and Sebastian Ofner join Dominic Thiem in Kitzbuhel


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Dennis Novak and Sebastian Ofner join Dominic Thiem in Kitzbuhel

Settled in the Tyrol Alps, Generali Open in Kitzbuhel started back in 1959, standing as one of the most picturesque stops in the ATP calendar. Kitzbuhel became a part of the Open era in 1970 when the Yugoslavian Zeljko Franulovic won the title and between 1999-2008 it had the ATP 500 status, reduced to the Challenger level in the next couple of years.

Kitzbuhel returned to the circuit in 2011 and stayed until today, offering one of the last chances for the clay-courters to claim the title ahead of never-ending hard-court events until the next February. Adriano Panatta, Manuel Orantes, Guillermo Vilas, Pete Sampras (his first clay-court title), Thomas Muster, Goran Ivanisevic, Albert Costa, Alex Corretja, Guillermo Coria, Gaston Gaudio, Juan Martin del Potro, and David Goffin are among the notable winner of this tournament and Dominic Thiem will try to join the list at the beginning of August.

Roland Garros finalist will lead the field together with Fernando Verdasco, Dusan Lajovic and Marco Cecchinato and the organizers have given the wild cards to the home players, as they did in the past as well. After Jurij Rodionov, the other two have gone to Dennis Novak and Sebastian Ofner, the best-ranked Austrian players who couldn't enter the main draw directly.

The 23-year-old Sebastian Ofner is yet to play on the ATP level this year, spending the majority of the season so far on the Challenger Tour and lifting the second title at that level in Puerto Vallarta. Two years ago, Ofner played in the third round at Wimbledon as a qualifier, followed by the semi-final run here in Kitzbuhel, losing to Joao Sousa in two tie breaks and missing the opportunity to reach the final.

Last year, Sebastian lost to the eventual champion Martin Klizan in the first round, hoping to find the form again in front of the home fans and make progress through the ranking list. The 25-year-old Dennis Novak has been on a career-high ranking at the moment, passing the qualifying round at Wimbledon and losing to Marton Fucsovics in the first round.

Dennis has not won the match on the ATP level since Kitzbuhel last year, claiming two victories at home event and looking for a good campaign in a few weeks with a favorable draw.