Maria Sakkari has returned to the scene of unfinished WTA business four years ago, playing as top seed this week in upper Austria.
The seventh-ranked Greek who disappointingly exited in the Australian Open third round, is back at the 250 event she was to have played as top seed four years ago.
But her pre-tourney withdrawal gave a chance to untried American teen Coco Gauff, a 15-year-old lucky loser from qualifying rounds who went onto win the first title of her career, beating 2017 Roland Garros winner Jelena Ostapenko.
Sakkari is ready to make good on her top seeding at the Design Centre venue in the central city as she starts in the first round against Spain’s Nuria Parrizas Diaz.
“Being injured (wrist) wasn’t ideal for me at the time because I was out for a couple of months – at the same time, it happens to everyone.
“I’m just very excited ahead of my debut here. I came all the way here in 2019, but in the end, I didn’t play because of my wrist injury. But now I’m healthy.”
Sakkari is already getting into the local spirit, taking her first of some traditional cuisine at the weekend.
“I had a great dinner at a traditional Austrian restaurant. It’s very important when you go to new places that you try and see the culture of the city and the country.
“I’ve now had a schnitzel and it was great.”
Sakkari leads a field where 17th-ranked Ekaaterina Alexandrova is seeded second.
“Being the top seed is something I’ve got a bit used to now,” sakkari said. “I want to achieve here what everybody wants to do – just leave the tournament with the trophy.
“That’s my goal but at the same time it’s a very tough WTA 250. It doesn’t mean that because I’m the No. 1 seed that I have to win, or that I’m going to win.
“There are some very good players right from the first round and my first match is a real challenge.”