TENNIS GERRY WEBER OPEN – Roger Federer won the Gerry Weber Open Singles final. Andre Begemann of Germany and Julian Knowle of Austria captured the Doubles, and Tournament Director, Ralf Weber kicked off the day summarizing the 2014 event and talked about the 2015 expectations when Halle becomes an ATP 500…From Halle, Mark Winters
A set routine is always followed on the final Sunday at the Gerry Weber Open, in Halle, Germany. It has been the same for the twenty-two years that the tournament has been held. Several hours before Roger Federer defeated Alejandro Falla of Columbia 7-6, 7-6 to earn his seventh title, dapper Tournament Director, Ralf Weber addresses the media. At these gatherings, he discusses the event that is about to conclude as well as some of the plans for the next championships (and the “progress” that will be made is always part of the Ralf Weber “Performa”).
Not only does he organize the Halle tennis operation, as if he was a symphony orchestra conductor, Weber appreciates the way professional tennis is played along with its captivating moments. He noted, “The Tie-Break that decided the Dustin Brown and Philipp Kohlschreiber match was electrifying and is one which none of us will ever forget.” He also enjoyed the performances of international stars, such as Kei Nishikori and Gael Monfils, as well as the German professionals who participated.
“They always tend to be able to get the best tennis out of themselves here at the Gerry Weber Open,” he said. “That is facilitated also by the way the venue is set up with the players always a short walk (during the tournament they stay at the Sportparkhotel) from everything. The concept of an oasis of well-being is spot on here.”
Weber was particularly pleased with Roger Federer reaching his ninth final saying, “He’s simply phenomenal”, as well as the performances of German wildcards, Peter Gojowczyk and Brown. As for Rafael Nadal, who lost to Brown, 6-4, 6-1 in the second round after receiving a first round Bye, Weber said: “It’s always saddening when the top seed goes out after the first match, and it is a bit disappointing too, but he came up against an opponent who rose above himself. Next year, there will be a full week between the end of the Roland Garros (French Open) and the start of the Gerry Weber Open and that will make the conditions more balanced and fairer for all of the players.”
Weber mentioned that ATP Executive Chairman and President, Chris Kermode visited Halle for the first time and told the Tournament Director that the experience was an “eye-opener.” Weber added, “He was hugely impressed and said it was an inspiration for how to stage a modern tennis event. By that, he meant what we offer above and beyond just tennis matches.”
As an aside, Weber called attention to the fact that television audiences were provided with exceptional coverage by Eurosport and the viewing numbers were similar to those realized in 2013.
The Gerry Weber Open mantra could be “Tennis for the people.” The Webers have always evidenced awareness and concern for, as Ralf said, “Helping people who may lead their lives in the shade of others.” He continued, “The social involvement of the tournament is an indispensable part of this event, and much more than merely fulfilling a duty.”
Over the years, the tournament has received accolades from the ATP and the tennis community for reaching out to the local community. Weber said of the effort, “It is an inspiration to go about this wonderful work with even greater dedication. Our players are also right behind these activities – they visit critically-ill children or handicapped people, gifting them with moments of joy and happiness.”
The close cooperation with Federer, in this regard, was also praised. “For ten years, the Gerry Weber Open has been supporting the work of the Roger Federer Foundation with another donation handed over to the Swiss player this year. At the start of the tournament, Federer paid the Bodelschwinghschen Foundation in Bielefeld a second memorable visit. Over all, the sum of donations to charitable organizations, in the tournament’s history, has now reached 1,243,772 Euros.”
The Weber tournament marketing magic continued as he admitted, “We managed to sell all the 80 VIP boxes we could sell, and 7,000 VIP tickets changed hands. We gained new global brands as sponsors. Recently, even Microsoft and EBay became involved. Furthermore, partnerships with Melitta, Dr. Oetker, Storck, Schüco and Mercedes-Benz continue to grow.”
In 2015, the Gerry Weber Open will be a week later on the tennis calendar (meaning two weeks after Roland Garros) and more importantly, it will become an ATP World Tour 500 series event. Weber said: “We’re very confident dealing with this challenge. We’re planning to expand the facilities here, including a park for families and children. We’re already in talks with sports article manufacturers and sports associations.
“Another project, in the pipeline, is the modernization and improvements to Court 1, which will be made fully accessible to television cameras. It should also receive Hawkeye technology. The capacity will be increased by 1,000, and Court 2 will increase its seating by 600-700 places.
“Even more world-class players will be invited to participate, but costs will be kept under control. With an extra million dollars in prize money, which we are going to have to put up, we have got to have enter into serious negotiations about appearance fees. I’m sure that we will have an even stronger field next year. The tournament is going to receive even more international recognition, even if it is only by the fact it will be broadcast in 120 countries.
“Furthermore, Germany’s Sabine Lisicki is going to take part in the 2015 Champions Trophy (an exhibition match played in the Gerry Weber Stadion on the Sunday before the tournament begins). Last year’s Wimbledon finalist has spent the past few days training in Halle.”
Weber concluded saying, “The 22nd Gerry Weber Open was fantastic, thrilling experience for the spectators. The atmosphere, all over the venue, was fantastic from the first to the last minute. I was really able to see the pleasure many visitors were having – pleasure in this great sport and great entertainment. Indeed, the number of spectators was exceptional with around 50,000 passing through the gates over the Whitsun weekend (Pentecost) alone. Including Sunday’s finals day, 110,700 will have paid a visit of the tournament, which is a new record. Having famous German celebrities such as Tim Bendzko, Christina Stürmer, Milow, Marlon Roudette, VoXXclub and Rea Garvey all appeared. This is just a free extra that we like to give to the spectators and it is something that nobody else provides. This is done in order to facilitate things for the fans next year, and tickets will go on sale even earlier, starting this September.”
(Federer, who was looking to duplicate his 2005 Gerry Weber Open double win came up short with Marco Chiudinelli of Switzerland, losing in a dramatic doubles final to Andre Begemann of Germany and Julian Knowle of Austria, 1-6, 7-5, 1-0 (12-10).)
Anett Kontaveit Set To Battle For WTA Finals Spot After Lifting Moscow Crown
It is the third time Kontaveit has won a tournament within the past six months but will she be able to qualify for the season-ending championships?
Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit has continued her recent surge in form on the Tour by fighting back from a set down to win her fourth career title at the Kremlin Cup on Sunday.
The world No.20 was on the verge of losing to home favourite Ekaterina Alexandrova before battling to a 4-6, 6-4, 7-5, victory. At one stage in the match Kontaveit was trailing by a set and 0-4. Then in the decider she was broken at 4-4 before going on to win three games in a row to clinch the title. Overall, she won 69% of her first service points and broke her opponent five times.
“Of course, I am very happy, the match was extremely difficult, I feel relief and joy,” she said afterwards. “I got lucky at match-point, but during the match there were moments when she (Alexandrova) got lucky too. It always takes a little luck to win. She took the lead, controlled the match, it was very difficult for me, I tried to fight for all the points and this helped me to win.”
Kontaveit, who defeated former world No.1 Garbine Muguruza and Markéta Vondroušová earlier in the tournament, has now won 14 out of the last 15 matches she has played on the Tour. Her only loss was to Ons Jabeur in the quarter-finals at Indian Wells. She has played in five finals this year which is the second-highest on the WTA Tour after world No.1 Ash Barty who has played in six.
The 25-year-old is now on the verge of qualifying for the WTA Finals for the first time in her career. However, the prospect of her playing in the season-ending event depends on the results of next week’s tournaments. Kontaveit is playing in Romania and she needs to win the tournament and for rival Jabeur to lose before the semi-finals to qualify.
Meanwhile, runner-up Alexandrova exits Moscow frustrated with her missed opportunities in the match. It was the first time she has played in a final this season and only the third time in her career. Prior to Kontaveit, she scored back-to-back wins over Aryna Sabalenka and Maria Sakkari.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to win, I’m very sorry. But I will work on it and I hope next time I will be able to get a better result,” Alexandrova said during the trophy ceremony.
“I want to congratulate Anett, she played great, it was hard for me to do something.” She added.
Kontaveit, who has won three WTA titles since August, is the first Estonian player to win the Moscow trophy. Compatriot Kaia Kanepi reached the final of the tournament back in 2011.
Bad news for the Transylvania Open as no fans are allowed
There will be no fans for next week’s event that includes Simona Halep and Emma Raducanu.
Mere days before the event was going to start the government announced a new measure that won’t allow for spectators.
The Transylvania Open a brand new WTA 250 event being held at the BT Arena in Cluj-Napoca got some bad news when the government announced due to a spike in covid cases the event will be held without fans.
The tournament was able to get some big names for its tournament with the likes of Simona Halep, Paula Badosa, and 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu who were hoping to feed off the crowd energy.
Now they will have to play in an empty stadium which is something that happened a lot last year and another hurdle the players will have to go through, it’s disappointing because things were getting better but the fourth wave of Coronavirus keeps ravaging the world.
This will be the first tournament back for Raducanu after being upset in Indian Wells and was supposed to be a homecoming since she is of Romanian descent.
The tournament went on Twitter to announce the news that they will be hosting the event behind closed doors.
Halep was hoping to be able to also play in front of her home fans but will now look to win another title in her native country without any spectators or fan support.
As mentioned in the tweet the effect won’t happen till Monday so the fans will still be able to attend the qualifying matches that will happen on Saturday and Sunday.
‘I Know How To Get There’ – Karen Khachanov Targets Return To Top 10
The world No.31 has showed signs of his talent this season with a run to the Olympic final but a lack of consistency and changes to the ATP ranking system has hindered him too.
It wasn’t that long ago when Karen Khachanov was the highest-ranked Russian man on the ATP Tour and billed as the next big thing from his country.
A breakout 2018 season saw Khachanov claim three Tour titles with the biggest of those being at the Paris Masters which remains his most prestigious trophy to date. He also reached his first major quarter-final at the French Open during the same season and scored five wins over top 10 players. Those triumphs helped elevate him in the ranking to a high of eight.
However, since that breakthrough Khachanov has found himself on a a rollercoaster journey. He is yet to win another title since Paris but came agonisingly close at the Tokyo Olympic Games where he finished runner-up to Alexander Zverev. In his nine previous Grand Slam tournaments his best run was at Wimbledon this season where he reached the last eight before losing to Denis Shapovalov.
Now ranked 31st in the world, the 25-year-old is aiming to claim back up the ladder after the ATP changed their ranking logic to the method used prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The rankings turned out to be a big pun, it was frozen for a year and a half, only now normal counting has begun. I am not fixated on this,” Khachanov told reporters in Moscow on Wednesday. “My main goal is to get back to the Top10. I know how to get there. And the intermediate goals are to be healthy and motivated.”
Khachanov has been ranked outside the world’s top 20 since February and hasn’t been in the top 10 since October 2019. He is currently coached on the Tour by Jose Clavet who has previously worked with a series of top Spanish players such as Feliciano Lopez, Alex Corretja, Tommy Robredo and Carlos Moya.
“He travels with me everywhere, for which I am grateful to him. I trust him as a specialist, as a coach and as a friend,” Khachanov said of Clavet.
Khachanov has returned to his home country this week where he is playing in Moscow at the Kremlin Cup. A tournament he won three years ago by defeating Adrian Mannarino in the final. Seeded third in the draw this time round, he began his campaign on Wednesday with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, win over James Duckworth. In the next round, he faces another Australian in the shape of John Millman which he believes will be a far from easy task.
“He is a fighter, a complete player, he does everything well, forehand and backhand with good intensity. He does everything at a good level, but the main quality is that he fights till the end, so it will be hard for me,” he said of his next opponent.
Moscow is the seventh tournament this year where Khachanov has reached the quarter-final stage.
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