Gilles Muller warming up to weather ahead of Chennai Open

Gilles Muller, Luxembourg’s most prominent tennis player, and the sixth seed in the Chennai Open, has given himself and his coaching staff time to acclimatise to the hot weather he will experience in the next few weeks, by arriving early to the city.

Muller's fitness trainer Frank Eicher considers the Chennai Open an important tournament.   -  Abhishek Mukherjee

Gilles Muller, Luxembourg’s most prominent tennis player, and the sixth seed in the Chennai Open, has given himself and his coaching staff time to acclimatise to the hot weather he will experience in the next few weeks, by arriving early to the city. The fact that Roberto Baustista Agut, Vasek Pospisil, Aljaz Bedene, John Millman and Kevin Anderson, all participants in the upcoming event, have suffered defeat at the hands of Muller in the past year, signals he may be a tough nut to crack in the tournament. Having lost here to eventual champion Stanislas Wawrinka in the quarter-final in 2015, Muller will attempt to better his performance, at what his fitness trainer Frank Eicher considers an important tournament. “It’s an important tournament at the beginning of the year, and it does prepare you for the Australian Open,” Eicher said in a short chat with Sportstar.

“We were practising for six weeks in Luxembourg. From Tuesday on we’re here in Chennai. Our practise has been good, and facilities are good. We’re happy to be here,” Eicher says.

Among the primary considerations for coming early is to get used to hot conditions in the first Slam of the year, the Australian Open, which is three weeks away. Muller and his support staff had braced themselves for a ‘furnace’ in Chennai, but have not encountered forbidding conditions. “It’s not as hot as we expected it to be. In Luxembourg, we had about 5 degrees; although that is a big difference, we came early, to try and get used to the conditions,” says Eicher.

“The only tournaments now at this time of the year are in this area (the two corresponding ATP tournaments are the Dubai Open and the Brisbane International), and he has to get used to the conditions he will play in three weeks’ time.”

Eicher confirmed that after his participation ends here, Muller will travel to Sydney to play in the Apia International, an ATP 250 tournament. This was is pathway to the Australian Open last year as well. “He’s trying his chances here, and in Sydney. He’ll have to be at his best all week. I’ll train him to be the best for the beginning of the season.”