Tournament Founder Gerhard (Gerry) Weber Saluted By DTB - UBITENNIS
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Tournament Founder Gerhard (Gerry) Weber Saluted By DTB

Gerhard (Gerry) Weber was honoured in Halle this week.





Gerhard Weber was Honoured this week in Halle.

By Mark Winters

For twenty-five years during the Gerry Weber Open, Thursday evening was traditionally reserved for a Media Party. Frank Hofen, the widely appreciated and truly loved Media Director, radiated joy because he so enjoyed doing his job. Annually he (with the tournament’s blessing) saluted a group of journalists and photographers at these gatherings. (Cheryl Jones and I were the International Journalists recognized in 2012).

Hofen, who spent twenty-five years in his position retired following the 2017 tournament, and Sascha Detlefsen, his long-time assistant, has now assumed Media Director responsibilities. Ever-friendly and gregarious, he decided, along with Gerry Weber Open tournament officials, to stage a Media Brunch, on June 19th, at the Gerry Weber Open Sportpark Hotel instead of holding a dinner. It was also decided to salute an individual in the tennis community, at large, who had truly made a difference rather than focus on media members.

In Halle Westfalen, the tournament’s home, there is no one who has done as much for tennis and the local economy than Gerhard (Gerry) Weber. A monumentally successful women’s clothing manufacturer, he founded Hatex KG, (which became Gerry Weber in 1989 and is now Gerry Weber International) with close friend and business partner, Udo Hardieck, in 1973.

Twenty-years of success in the business world led Weber, who is an avid recreational tennis player, (a crafty left-hander to be precise) to make a decision. In 1992, he, along with his son, Ralf, organized a $25,000 ATP Challenger event on the terre battue courts at TC Blau-Weiss, (basically, their club then as it is now, and Ralf is a member of an outstanding Bundesliga Men’s 50 team). Gerry Weber had made his mark in the women’s fashion industry. He accomplished that by creating five “ladies fashion” lines offering affordable prices for everyone. Because of his business savvy, coupled with the success enjoyed by the initial tournament, he fully believed that team Weber was ready to host an ATP event.

The organization that in effect, rules men’s tennis agreed and said the week after Roland Garros was open. The only problem was the time frame that in those days, was merely a week before Wimbledon. Staging a tournament on the surface, when the terre battue season was for all intents and purposes, completed, made no sense at all.

So, the Webers decided to initiate the first grass court tennis tournament in northern Germany – and he has admitted, “people thought we were crazy”. The Gerry Weber Open, (Halle as most tennis aficionados call the championship), began in 1993. Given the spring weather Europe that meant rain, and plenty of it. Gerry Weber got wet the first year, but being a man of action, he came up with a solution – Put a closeable roof over center court.

The project was completed in time for the 1994 tournament, which delighted the 12,300 spectators who can be seated in Gerry Weber Stadion. They remained dry whenever the skies opened up. Since then the Gerry Weber Open, and its multipurpose center court, have become storied.

According to Pliny the Elder, “Home is where the heart is” and that is certainly the case with Gerry Weber, and Ralf too. Halle is their base, and this is clearly seen in the way the local populations supports the championship. In fact, Halle is “the peoples’ tournament.” It is because the Webers do their utmost to encourage local endeavors, whether they are individual or group efforts.

Today, the Deutscher Tennis Bund (DTB) recognized all that Gerry Weber has done for the game and the Halle community. Ulrich Klaus, DTB President, honored the 77-year-old. Klaus noted how pleased he was to give the award to such a special individual who had done so much for tennis fans, but also for youngsters as well as adult and seniors who play the game. (It is further significant because the DTB has only presented the accolade on one other occasion.)

When Weber had an opportunity to speak, his enthusiasm was evident. His recollections were revealing and humorous. He mentioned a call he had received from an individual who lived near the Gerry Weber Open facility who was unhappy with someone singing very loudly. He told the caller to open all the windows in the house because it would be an opportunity to listen to Pavarotti sing, and it would be absolutely free.

He touched on how proud he was that the tournament has progressed so far since its beginning. He pointed out that the Gerry Weber Open has gotten better and better each year, and now it enjoys international respect.

And, all these years later, the same can be said of Gerry Weber.


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ATP RANKINGS UPDATE: Novak Djokovic, No.1 once more



After the US Open the Serbian champion reclaims top spot. Alexander Zverev is back in the Top 10


By Roberto Ferri

Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion”

Rudy Tomjanovich coined this maxim just after his Houston Rockets won the NBA championship in 1995. He was paying homage to Akeem Holajuwon. It perfectly suits the heart of Daniil Medvedev, who proved 99% of tennis fans in the world to be wrong, convinced as they were that he would lose the semifinal to former No 1 Carlos Alcaraz.

But his dream to win a second US Open, after his triumph in 2021, was shattered by another champion, whose heart and class is even greater: that’s Novak Djokovic, who affixes his seal on his return to No.1, equalling Margaret Court Smith’s record of 24 majors.

Djokovic dethroning Alcaraz is not the only change in the top 20: Sascha Zverev is back in the top 10 after almost one year and Ben Shelton, great protagonist of the Us Open, debuts in the top 20 best players in the world.

TOP 20

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A few comments:

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrei Rublev and Alexander Zverev gain 2 positions.

Ben Shelton devours 28 positions.

Sinner, Tiafoe, Norrie and Dimitrov lose one.

Casper Ruud and Karen Khachanov, runner up and semi-finalist respectively  at the 2022 US  Open, drop 4 positions.

One step forward for Fritz, de Minaur, Paul, Auger-Aliassime and Hurkacz.


From 12 to 19 November the 8 best players of the ranking based on the points earned in the ongoing solar season will be playing the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.

Will Novak Djokovic succeed in winning a second straight title? He appears to be heading in the right direction.


Thanks to his triumph at the US Open the Serbian overtakes Alcaraz also in the Race to Turin.

Jannik Sinner holds fourth spot while Andrei Rublev overtakes Stefanos Tsitsipas and is now fifth.

The eighth position is occupied by Alexander Zverev.

Last year runner up, Casper Ruud is currently 10th. This means he would feature in Turin as a reserve.


The Next Gen Finals, dedicated to the best under 21s, (8 effectives and 2 reserves) of the season will take place this year in Gedda, Saudi Arabia.

The 2022 winner, Brandon Nakashima, will not be defending his title, since he was born in 2001.

PositionPlayerCountryPtsYOB ATP rank
6Van AsscheFrance597200469
12Llamas RuizSpain3702002133

Taking for granted that Alcaraz and, most likely Rune, will be playing the ATP Finals, we have included in the chart the 12 current top under 21s.


Besides Ben Shelton, other 11 players have achieved their career highest this week.

We tribute a double applause to the four players who are making their debut in the top 100.

The 25-year-old Croatian Borna Gojo, 22-year-old Australian Rinky Hijkata and the Swiss next gen Dominic Stricker all reap the reward for their brilliant runs at the US Open. Seyboth Wild, the Brazilian who stunned Medvedev in the first round of Roland Garros leaps to No.76 after winning the Challenger in Como last week.

Seyboth Wild76Brazil30

Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

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COMMENT: Novak Djokovic Proves His Greatness At US Open



Love him, or hate him. But respect him.


No tennis player has ever been better than Novak Djokovic.

Even Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer have to take their hats off to Novak, and admire him.

Now that Rafa and Roger have left Djokovic on his own stage at least for now, tennis fans love Novak.


Djokovic’s performance on Sunday evening in the U.S. Open final was simply amazing. Daniil Medvedev also played his heart out, but Djokovic went one step further. He was sensational.

It was a thrill-a-minute three-set match. It lasted well into the night after starting at mid-afternoon. The second set alone lasted 104 minutes.

Djokovic was the winner, 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3, but New York still loves 2021 champion Medvedev.


At 36, the oldest U.S. Open men’s champion ever, Djokovic obviously has a special place in his heart for the number four. It’s the number of times he has won this tournament and the 24th time he has won a Grand Slam title.

The number 24 also was displayed prominently on the white jacket. Novak, his team members and family wore for the victory celebration as a tribute to the No. 24 jersey of deceased friend Kobe Bryant.

Djokovic lost his footing at least three times in the tight second set, stumbling to the surface once, apparently due to the length of the rallies.

Djokovic could look like he was almost completely wiped out of it physically one minute, and then play like Superman the next minute.


Both men played great tennis, especially in the thrill-a-second second set in which Medvedev gained one set point in the 12th game before Djokovic recovered to force a tiebreaker.

Medvedev appeared to be in charge after out-playing Novak to win one of his drop shots to take a 5-4 lead in the tiebreaker. The match may have been decided on the next three points, all won by Djokovic on errors by the 6-6 Russian.

The big question now is what happens next January in the Australian Open. Right now, Djokovic probably wants to play . . . and win what has been his favorite tournament as far as success. But things can change quickly for players in their mid-30s. Just ask Roger or Rafa.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at

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Alcaraz Fell Victim To Unbeatable Medvedev

Carlos Alcaraz was no match for Daniil Medvedev in the US Open semi-finals.



(@RelevantTennis - Twitter)

A star had to fall. There was no other way.


This time, Carlos Alcaraz was the victim. Daniil Medvedev was unbeatable.

The 6-6 Russian was everywhere, playing almost perfect tennis in a 7-6 (3), 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 win over Alcaraz.

So, one former champion went down while one advanced to Sunday’s final at the U.S. Open.

And then there was Novak Djokovic, another former champion headed for the title match.


The U.S. Open couldn’t lose once Djokovic dominated young American Ben Shelton, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (4).

Djokovic appeared to be content with just winning while getting the preliminaries over with. He seemed to be a little miffed by Shelton’s cockiness. There were no hugs or embraces when the match ended. Just a handshake.

Shelton has huge potential, but it’s going to take some time before he’s ready to join the likes of Djokovic, Medvedev and Alcaraz. He’s a better athlete than he is tennis player.

Novak is ready to go for a record 24th Grand Slam title.

Believe it or not, Medvedev will be playing in his fifth Grand Slam final.

Sunday should be a great day in Arthur Ashe Stadium, with two former champs, Djokovic and Medvedev, going against each other.


The women’s final will be interesting. Can Coco Gauff compete with Aryna Sabalenka?

Sabalenka looked helpless against Madison Keys’ big strokes and serves in the first set of their semifinal on Thursday.

Sabalenka couldn’t win even one game in that set. She looked helpless.

But she obviously felt all along that she could beat Keys anytime she wanted. Or why else would the powerful Sabalenka go for broke on almost every shot? And it almost cost her.

Amazingly, Sabalenka waited almost to the final moments to decide to play within her game and stop the wildness.

Once Sabalenka decided to settle down and play to win, Keys went just the opposite way, similarly to her one-sided loss to Sloane Stephens in the 2017 U.S. Open final.

Keys appeared ready to win this time as she held a 6-0, 5-4 advantage over new world’s No. 1 Sabalenka, who seemed to be stumbling all over the court as she repeatedly hit wild shots in every direction.

Just like that, everything changed. Sabalenka started hitting winners everywhere as Keys reversed roles with Sabalenka. Not only did Sabalenka win the second set while dropping just one point in a tiebreaker, she stormed through a decisive 10-point third-set tiebreaker to win the match.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award. 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at

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