Lyon, the third-largest city in France, staged an ATP tournament on indoor courts between 1987-2009, with John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Ivan Ljubicic, Andy Roddick and Robin Soderling among the champions.
The tournament had switched to Montpellier in 2011, and Lyon returned to the circuit in 2017 with the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Lyon on clay courts, placed in the week before the Roland Garros. Lyon didn't take place in 2020 due to the pandemic, and it will go on next week, shifting to a better place in the calendar two weeks before Roland Garros and gathering a rock-solid field of players!
Nine top-30 players will compete for the Lyon title next week, including a former champion Dominic Thiem and the ATP Race leader Stefanos Tsitsipas. Two stars join Diego Schwartzman, David Goffin, Gael Monfils, Jannik Sinner, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Karen Khachanov and Aslan Karatsev in what should be a great week of tennis from the first round.
Thiem competed in Lyon in 2018 and won the title on debut, beating Gilles Simon 3-6, 7-6, 6-1 in just under two and a half hours. The Austrian prevailed after a slow start, trailing 6-3, 4-2, 40-15 and facing a defeat before he raised his level to pull the break back and win the tie break 7-1, boosting his chances in the decider where he lost just one game for the tenth ATP crown and the 200th ATP win.
Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas will compete in Lyon next week.
Thiem claimed the US Open crown last year following that epic victory over Alexander Zverev in five sets, and things are not looking that good for him so far in 2021.
The Austrian had scored only five wins in the opening three months of the new season and decided to take a break from tennis and stay away from the court for a couple of weeks. Thiem returned in Madrid and lost in the semi-final to Alexander Zverev.
In Rome, Dominic experienced a tough 6-4, 6-7, 7-6 loss to Lorenzo Sonego in the third round, giving his best but falling after almost three and a half hours. Thiem will use Lyon as his final preparation ahead of Roland Garros, where he played back-to-back finals in 2018 and 2019.
Stefanos Tsitsipas has been the player to beat so far in 2021, leading the ATP Race and winning the first Masters 1000 crown in Monte Carlo. The Greek is battling against Novak Djokovic in the Rome quarter-final, and he still wants to compete in Lyon and seek more wins ahead of the season's second Major where he was the semi-finalist last October.