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No financial issue with Novak Djokovic, but we have to meet certain other conditions for him: Vienna tournament director

Novak Djokovic during the 2020 French Open at Roland Garros in Paris
Novak Djokovic during the 2020 French Open at Roland Garros in Paris
Modified 16 Oct 2020, 23:23 IST

Herwig Straka, the Tournament Director of the Erste Bank Open in Vienna, recently revealed that convincing Novak Djokovic to sign up for the Vienna event was not a difficult job. However, Straka did admit that the World No. 1 requested for a few specific arrangements to be made at the event.

"It wasn't a financial issue with Novak Djokovic. The agreement was there quickly, Novak just wanted to play," Straka told Der Standard. "This would also be the case with Rafael Nadal if he wanted to play."
"Djokovic doesn't come until the end of the week and has some other requirements," he added. "So that he can perform perfectly, he has an environment around him, from food to fitness, things that we have to meet, but that's okay."

Novak Djokovic will skip the Paris Masters this year as he hopes to gain some additional ranking points by playing in Vienna. Under the new ATP ranking rules for the current period till March 2021, every player's result from this year or the previous year, at a specific event, will count towards their ranking points.

Novak Djokovic has decided not to compete in this year
Novak Djokovic has decided not to compete in this year's Rolex Paris Masters which he won last year.

As such, Novak Djokovic will not lose any ranking points he gained from winning the Paris title last year. That helped his decision to play for the Vienna event as he aims to end the season as World No. 1.

If all goes well, he could break Roger Federer's record of 310 weeks at No. 1 by March of next year.

"That (the ranking points) was always my speculation, thank God it worked. He can make 500 free points, so he will definitely be fully motivated," Straka added.

I don't think Rafael Nadal will come, Dominic Thiem will go to the bubble on Friday: Herwig Straka

Dominic Thiem
Dominic Thiem

Herwig Straka even spoke to French Open winner Rafael Nadal about playing in Vienna, but the Spaniard is unlikely to make the trip. Nadal had beaten Novak Djokovic in the Roland Garros final.

"I spoke to Rafael Nadal once this week and I don't think he will come," Straka said.

When he is not fulfilling his duties as the Vienna tournament director, Herwig Straka works as the manager of Dominic Thiem - who incidentally won the event last year. Straka believes defending the title will be an enormous challenge for Thiem given that seven of the top 10 players, including Novak Djokovic, are playing.

"Well, he has recovered and is slowly starting to play tennis again. He will now start full tennis training at the weekend," Straka said. "Dominic will train there (on the new hard court in Traiskirchen, where the same surface has been laid) and go to the bubble on Friday at the earliest."
"It doesn't exist anywhere. Even the smallest 1000 tournament is the smallest in Paris with a 48 player draw. In this respect, defending the title is an enormous challenge," he added.

The ATP event in Vienna, which is a 32-player field, is scheduled to begin on the 26th of October 2020.

Published 16 Oct 2020, 22:32 IST
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