The Austrian Tennis Federation is eager to once again host ATP Challenger tournaments. Austria hasn't had a Challenger tournament since 2011 -- when the last edition of the Salzburg Challenger was held. The Salzburg event was short-lived as it had only three editions.
German Michael Better won the inaugural edition in 2009 -- Ireland's Conor Niland won it all in 2010 -- before French Benoit Paire made it all the way in the tournament's last edition. The interest in tennis in Austria has grown in recent years mainly due to the success of world No.
8 Dominic Thiem. Thiem, 24, ended runner-up to world No. 1 Rafael Nadal in this year's French Open final and reached his career-high ranking of No. 4 in the world last year. Back in 2011, while Thiem was an 18-year-old promising Austrian tennis player -- he was given a wildcard for the Salzburg Challenger.
The Austrian exited the tournament in round one as he suffered a straight-set defeat against 2013 Wimbledon semi-finalist Jerzy Janowicz. A year earlier in 2010 -- Thiem was given a qualifying wildcard for Salzburg -- but he failed to make it past the qualifying event as he lost to Radu Albot in the qualifying first round.
The Austrian Tennis Federation is targeting to host three to five Challengers per year. It would give the young and promising Austrians a chance to get some much-needed wins and experience, as well as earn some ranking points.
"We need these events to give our young players a chance to score points", Austrian Tennis Federation President Werner Klausner said. Also read: Andy Murray is a great and true champion, no matter what happens next