The reluctance of NIck Kyrgios to play the clay of Roland Garros has turned into a win-win for next month’s Stuttgart grass event.
Organisers in Germany confirmed the clay-averse Australian as a solid entry for the first event of the summer grass season – one which happens to clash with the second week of Roland Garros in Paris.
But that all means little to the 56th-ranked Kyrgios, who has not played since February’s Australian Open and who will be skipping the French Open as he has done every year since his last appearance in 2017.
Provisionally joining him in the field at the Weissenhof club in Germany’s automotive centre – Paris results pending – will be new Madrid Masters champion Alexander Zverev and Italy’s teenaged Jannik Sinner.
The scheduling complication came about after French officials delayed the Roland Garros start by a week in hopes that the national COVID situation will show a bit more clarity.
That’s just fine by Stuttgart bosses: “Due to the postponement of the French Open by a week and the resulting overlap with the Mercedes Cup, a few obstacles had to be cleared out of the way, but in the end there was a positive solution that was acceptable to all three parties,” TD Edwin Weindorfer said.
“The situation with the French Open harbours some uncertainties, but we have received very positive signals from numerous players regarding a start at the Mercedes Cup. Alexander Zverev and Jannik Sinner will play at the Weissenhof in Paris if the tournament goes accordingly.
“The fact that Nick Kyrgios will serve in Stuttgart next June, however, is completely independent of what is happening at the French Open, as he will not compete there.”
Due to the unprecedented calendar clash, Stuttgart will offer five wild cards instead of the usual three to allow for late entries from Paris losers.
“We are now looking forward to opening the 2021 lawn season in Stuttgart and thus being the first stop on the way to the Grand Slam highlight at Wimbledon,” Weindorfer said.
“It is still open whether there will be spectators.”
The tournament is set for a June 8 start.