Former world No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov and three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka have been handed a tough doubles opener in Vienna as they are set to meet No. 2 seeds Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury in the first round. Dimitrov and Wawrinka, who debuted as a team at the Queen's Club in 2014, are set to play together for the first time since losing in the first round at the Monte Carlo Masters in April 2019.
Dimitrov and Wawrinka haven't had much success together as they haven't won a match since 2016 and they have never made it past the round-of-16 together. Dimitrov and Wawrinka are on a three-match losing streak together as their last win as a pair came against France's Lucas Pouille and Dominic Thiem at the 2016 Toronto Masters.
Dimitrov and Wawrinka the underdogs in Vienna
Ram and Salisbury, who claimed their maiden Grand Slam team title earlier this year at the Australian Open, enter Vienna as one of the main favorites to win it all. Dimitrov and Wawrinka rarely play doubles -- their last match together came a year and a half ago -- and it will be extremely tough for them to beat one of the best doubles duos on the ATP Tour.
Meanwhile, home favorite Thiem is also set to feature in the Vienna doubles event as he and his close friend Dennis Novak were drawn to meet Great Britain's Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski. Thiem, who claimed his maiden Vienna title last year after beating Diego Schwartzman in the final, wanted to play doubles in Vienna this year as well so he asked the tournament organizers for a wildcard.
To no one's surprise, the Vienna organizers fulfilled Thiem's wish so the top-ranked Austrian tennis player and Novak were granted a wildcard into the doubles event. Thiem and Novak, who haven't played together since teaming up in Kitzbuhel in 2018, are set to make their fourth appearance as a team.
Thiem and Novak debuted as a team on the clay courts of Kitzbuhel in 2016, when they made the final before ending runners-up to Wesley Koolhof and Matwe Middelkoop in the final. Three months later that year, Thiem and Novak made their first team appearance in Vienna.
Unfortunately for Thiem and Novak, they didn't impress as they lost 6-0 6-0 to Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan in the Vienna first round. Thiem and Novak will be hoping for a better Vienna result this time but it won't be easy to beat doubles specialists Murray and Skupski.