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Fognini Looks To Defend Stuttgart Crown

Stuttgart, Germany

Zverev Fognini© Marcus Lang/X-tremePicturesTop seed Fabio Fognini and wild card Alexander Zverev practised on the grass courts of the Weissenhof Club.

Defending champion Fabio Fognini returns to the MercedesCup in Stuttgart, where one year ago he captured his first ATP World Tour crown with a three-set win over Philipp Kohlschreiber.

“The first title is always special. Especially here in Stuttgart, because of how I played at the tournament,” said Fognini. “Since then I’ve changed a lot. My tennis is better. I feel great on court and I hope to play well this year.”

On Sunday, the 27 year old practised with wild card German Alexander Zverev on the brand new grass courts at the Weissenhof Club, which will host the MercedesCup on grass for the first time in 2015.

“The court is really nice. It’s a fast surface but here in Stuttgart we're at a higher altitude,” said Fognini, who owns three ATP World Tour titles (also 2013 Hamburg and 2014 Vina del Mar). “I look forward to coming here next year.”

Awarded a first-round bye as the tournament's top seed, Fognini will face either Andrey Golubev or Philipp Petzschner to open defence of his title. Zverev, a wild card, plays Lukas Rosol in the first round.

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