Tournament Director Ralf Weber’s “State Of Halle” Discussion - UBITENNIS
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Tournament Director Ralf Weber’s “State Of Halle” Discussion

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By Mark Winters

One of Tournament Director Ralf Weber’s responsibilities is to discuss the ‘State of Halle’ as the Gerry Weber Open concludes. Always candid, he provided insight about why the 24th championship was such a success.

Halle, Westfalia, Germany – It is all part of bringing the curtain down on another championship. Tournament Director, Ralf Weber has handled the task forever or so it seems. The Gerry Weber Open, the ATP 500 event took place in the German countryside in the town of Halle between June 13th and June 19th. As play concluded, the candid Weber talked about the highlights of the tournament’s 24th year.

He began his “State of Halle” press conference, noting that the poor “weather conditions” did little to dim the mood of the spectators and the players. This year’s attendance was roughly 110,000, which given the daily rain, was impressive. Even more significant, since it began in 1993, almost 2.5 million people have passed through the gates of the lush facility that features deep hues of green and purple decorating the booths and signage found on the grounds.

Ticket sales tell a story and according to Weber, 2016 was an award winning narrative. All the box seats and the revolving banners, featuring company advertising on center court, were sold almost before the accountants could reach for the sales ledger. Television coverage, bolstered by the combined involvement of ZDF and Eurosport, was the best ever. In addition, “The tournament could be seen on free TV.”

Combined with the written coverage, the Gerry Weber Open is becoming “a significant global brand.” Weber added, “There are now broadcasts in 140 countries and reports from almost 400 journalists from around the world. Even the social networks reached up to 25 million people a day, and the online site listed hundreds of thousands of hits during the tournament week.”

As important as the “fan feel” Gerry Weber, the tournament owner, and Ralf, his son, have created, the players are really the key. They draw attention to and are the reason spectators purchase tickets. A glance at the singles draw proves the point. There was a fashionable mix (and, of course, Gerry Weber is a clothing manufacturing titan) of youngsters on the way up such as Borna Coric of Croatia and Taylor Fritz of US, and already established competitors like David Ferrer of Spain, Ivo Karlovic of Croatia and Viktor Troicki of Serbia. Dominic Theim of Austria was part of this group and so was Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic. Playing at home, the German contingent was strong including qualifier Benjamin Becker, Philipp Kohlschreiber and Florian Mayer, who was playing with a Protected Ranking (PR), (and ended up winning the title).

When it comes to ideal, the semifinal between the “Super Talent” (as Weber called him) Alexander Zverev of Germany and Roger Federer was perfect. As readers known, the youngster triumphed 7-6, 5-7, 6-3, but Federer remains storied in Halle. As Weber said, “He is the leading figure in the history of the tournament. He is the face of the Gerry Weber Open. He just loves this place, the fans and the special atmosphere. It is good that the tournament has a lifetime contract with him. We have an exceptional partnership.”

Twenty-fives years is a “Silver Anniversary.” The planning to make it both extraordinary and memorable began, within seconds, after the last ball was hit. Gerry and Ralf Weber have established a tournament that is truly magic, yet they will find a way to make it even better. On a personal note, having attended the previous 24 events, I can’t wait to be in Halle for the 2017 Gerry Weber Open.

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Tommy Paul Downs Lorenzo Musetti Wins Maiden Grass Court Title At Queen’s Club

Tommy Paul is the new American number one!

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Tommy Paul has won his maiden grass court title at Queen’s Club after defeating Lorenzo Musetti 6-1 7-6(8).

The fifth seed was too good for the Italian who never really got going as Paul claimed his first title at ATP 500 level.

It was Paul’s third ATP title of his career and moves to world number 12 after an impressive week.

Heading into the final, Paul had beaten Jack Draper and Sebastian Korda and the American continued his red-hot form in the opening set.

Incredible movement on the grass as Paul played efficient counter-attacking tennis as he frustrated Musetti early on.

The American secured the early break for a 3-0 lead as the world number 13 dictated with power and touch.

Looking for a response, Musetti aimed to dictate play on the backhand and the Italian’s serve was firing in the next game as he secured his only hold of the match.

However, Paul was too consistent and solid as the American broke again and would soon win the opening set 6-1.

In the second set, Musetti started more positively as he was more proactive and aggressive as he looked to control his power more.

Paul managed to outlast Musetti’s early power to keep moving the Italian about and creating angles to hit winners into.

After a controlled start, Musetti produced a reckless seventh game as erratic unforced errors saw Paul break for a 4-3 lead.

The American was calm and collected for the majority of the match but when serving for the match Paul faltered under pressure.

Too many missed first serves saw Musetti with an opportunity to break back and the Italian didn’t need a second invitation as a crisp backhand return winner sealed the break back to level the set at 5-5.

An inspired Musetti applied pressure on Paul with some phenomenal hitting from the baseline as he secured consistent winners.

The American held his nerve to force a second set tiebreak as the American looked to overcome some jitters.

It looked like Musetti was going to cruise to the tiebreak but the Italian squandered a 4-1 lead in what was a highly entertaining tiebreak.

In the end Paul would win the tiebreak 10-8 and secure his first ATP 500 title as well as becoming the new American number one.

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Jannik Sinner Wins Maiden Grass-Court Title In Halle

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Jannik Sinner - Parigi 2024 (foto X @ATPTour_ES)

Jannik Sinner has reached another milestone in his blossoming career after claiming his first title on grass at the Terra Wortmann Open in Halle. 

The world No.1 ousted fifth seed and doubles partner Hubert Hurkacz 7-6(8), 7-6,(2), in a tightly contested encounter. Sinner was sternly tested by the big-hitting Pole who knocked French Open finalist Alexander Zverev out of the tournament on Saturday. Nevertheless, he managed to come out on top to become only the eighth player in PIF ATP ranking history to claim a trophy in his first tournament as world No.1.

“This means a lot,” Sinner told TennisTV. “It was a tough match against Hubi. I knew that I had to serve really well. You play only a couple of really important points throughout the whole set. I tried to produce in the best possible way in the important moments. 
“I’m very happy about this tournament because it’s my first time winning (a title) on a grass court. It’s a good feeling.”

Proceedings got underway with a 53-minuite opening set which saw no breaks of serves during the first 12 games played. However, each player had one opportunity to do so during the early stages. In the tiebreak, Sinner continued to be troubled by Hurkacz after failing to maintain a 5-2 lead. Then at 6-5, he was unable to convert his first set point due to an ace from his opponent. He missed a second opportunity to do so before prevailing on his third by hitting a shot deep to the baseline that his rival returned into the net. Making Sinner the first player to take a set off Hurkacz this week. 

It was a case of deja vu in the second frame with both players standing strong behind their serve. Hurkacz was unable to find a way to break but he did win over the crowd after hitting a fantastic over-the-shoulder passing shot without looking to win a point. 

Meanwhile, Sinner continued to weather the storm as he closed in on victory. The second tiebreaker saw him capitalised on back-to-back unforced errors from his rival en route to a 5-1 lead. Two points later he earned his first match point with the help of another costly mistake from across the court before closing the match out with ease.

Sinner’s latest victory is only the second time he has beaten a top 10 player on the grass with his first triumph being against Carlos Alcaraz at Wimbledon two years ago. He is also the second player to win Halle whilst ranked No.1 in the world after Roger Federer. 

Heading into Wimbledon, the 22-year-old has won four ATP trophies so far this season on three different surfaces. He has now won 38 out of his last 41 matches played. 

“I’m looking forward to it,” Sinner said of the next Grand Slam. “Last year I made the semis and played some good tennis. So let’s see what’s coming this year. 
“For sure I’m more confident on this surface. Obviously, the grass here (in Halle) might be a bit different to Wimbledon but I have a week to prepare so hopefully it is going to be a good tournament.”

Sinner is the 17th active male player to win a tour-level title on all three surfaces. 

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(VIDEO) Jannik Sinner And Lorenzo Musetti Create Italian Grass Court History

Italian tennis keeps getting stronger as Jannik Sinner and Lorenzo Musetti make more history on grass.

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Jannik Sinner and Lorenzo Musetti created Italian grass court history by becoming the first Italians to reach ATP grass court finals in the same week.

The world number one, Jannik Sinner, overcame Zhizhen Zhang in straight sets to reach the final in Halle.

It’s Sinner’s best ever performance at Halle and will now face doubles partner Hubert Hurkacz for the title on Sunday.

Meanwhile at Queen’s Club Lorenzo Musetti reached his second ATP 500 final with victory over Jordan Thompson in three sets.

It’s Musetti’s third ATP final of his career and his first ATP 500 final since 2022 where he beat Carlos Alcaraz in the Hamburg final.

Ubitennis founder Ublado Scanagatta reflects on the historic achievements by Sinner and Musetti and the impact it could have on the whole pyramid of Italian tennis.

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