New Surroundings, Same Game: Urban Tennis Hits Antwerp
Arriving by public bus, the four ATP World Tour stars posed for pictures and contested rallies in front of the public as excitement built in the city for the third edition of the tournament. Defending champion Tsonga and first-time visitor Monfils will be keen to make it three out of three for French players in Antwerp, with countryman Richard Gasquet lifting the trophy in 2016.
Tsonga is competing in just his second event since recovering from a knee injury, which forced the 33-year-old to miss seven months of the 2018 season. Monfils, who will meet Belgian wild card Ruben Bemelmans in the first round, was impressed by the local sights. "It was great to be able to hit a few balls on one of the most beautiful squares of Antwerp," said Monfils.
Top seed Edmund will be looking to build on a strong Asian Swing as he chases his first tour-level trophy. The World No. 15 won six of eight matches in China, with semi-final and quarter-final runs in Beijing and Shanghai respectively. Former World No. 3 Raonic, like fellow debutant Monfils, was equally impressed by the city after his visit to the famous square. "It was an agreeable and sporty way to see the city," said Raonic.