The Austrian capital Vienna had hosted the ATP tournament for the first time in 1974, with the Americans as the dominant force in the opening ten events, winning eight titles, including four for Brian Gottfried. Ivan Lendl, Michael Stich, Goran Ivanisevic, Andre Agassi, Boris Becker, Pete Sampras, Tommy Haas, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Juan Martin del Potro and Andy Murray are among the winners of this prestigious indoor event, with Kevin Anderson who went all the way a year ago for the first ATP 500 title.
Kevin will not defend the crown, leaving Daniil Medvedev, Dominic Thiem, Karen Khachanov, Matteo Berrettini, Borna Coric, Diego Schwartzman as the leading candidates for the title next Sunday. 2011 champion Jo-Wilfried Tsonga received the first wild-card and the organizers reserved the second for the home player Dennis Novak who will compete in the main draw for the fourth time.
World no. 126 made a debut in Vienna in 2015, losing to Radek Stepanek in straight sets before reaching the second round as a qualifier in 2017, beating three Italians before a tight loss to Kyle Edmund after three tie breaks and almost three hours of play.
A year ago, Karen Khachanov halted Novak in straight sets and the Austrian will seek better run next week and the first win at the ATP tournament since Kitzbuhel. Dennis almost cracked the top-100 for the first time in June, making a slow start of the season before conquering Taipei Challenger in April and building confidence ahead of grass season where he played in the final of Ilkley Challenger and qualified for the main draw at Wimbledon.
Dennis had to skip the entire action in August, returning with the quarter-final run in Mouilleron le Captif last week and qualifying for the main draw in Stockholm where he lost in the first round to Sam Querrey.