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.

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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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Filip Krajinovic To Skip Australian Open If Required To Quarantine For More Than Five Days

The world No.34 says he ‘sees no reason’ why vaccinated players should have to go through a long quarentine in Australia.

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Image via twitter.com/atptour (Alexander Scheuber)

The second highest-ranked Serbian player in men’s tennis says it would be ‘unacceptable’ for organisers of the Australian Open to require players to quarantine for more than a week if they have been fully vaccinated.

 

Filip Krajinovic has become the first player to publicly state that they will not be prepared to travel to Melbourne at the end of this season if they have to go through strict quarantine measures once again. All the players who participated in this year’s Australian Open were required to be quarantined in a designated hotel for 14 days upon arrival in the country. During their stay they were allowed to use training facilities but that was the only time they could leave the premises unless there was an emergency.

There is no final decision regarding the travel requirements for the 2022 tournament but there are concerns that unvaccinated players may not be allowed to enter the country. The Victorian government recently issued a mandate ordering all essential workers to be vaccinated, including athletes. However, the regional government will not have the final say concerning tennis players arriving in the country with the national government being the ones in charge of that decision.

“They are very rigorous there and honestly, if I have to be in quarantine for 14 days after arriving in Melbourne, I will not go to Australia,” Krajinovic told Serbian newspaper Blic.
“I was vaccinated, I did everything in my power to protect myself and the people around me, so I really see no reason to sit there for 14 days in a room.’
“If they (the organisers) say that after arrival I need, say, five days to be in isolation, that’s OK for me, but anything beyond that is unacceptable to me. With the season ending late, I will have 20 days to get ready and go. Charter flights will be organized again and the last one is planned for December 28 for the players and that is the final date when I can go to Australia. I will see what the final decision from Melbourne will be, so I will cut what is the best thing to do.”

Earlier this week Victoria’s Sports minister Martin Pakula urged players to be vaccinated because it give them ‘the best opportunity to play in the Australian Open.’ It is expected that if unvaccinated players are allowed to attend, they will be subjected to stricter restrictions. This might include a longer quarantine period upon arrival and limitations of where they can go during their stay.

Last year, all of those players had to do their 14 days of quarantine. Right now there looks like there will be different rules for people who enter this country who are vaccinated as against unvaccinated and I don’t think the tennis will be any exception to that.” Pakula told the Sports Entertainment Network (SEN).
“In terms of what rules apply for people to enter Australia, whether unvaccinated people are allowed in at all, I don’t the answer to that yet. That’s going to be the subject of discussion at national cabinet and among the federal cabinet … those rules are not set by state governments.” He added.

Krajinovic is currently ranked 34th in the world and has a win-loss record this season of 18-18. At the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells he reached the second round before falling in straight sets to Daniil Medvedev. His best run so far this year was at the Hamburg Open where he reached the final.

“When we look at the whole of 2021, I played one final, one semifinal, there were good victories, but also worse results,” the 29-year-old commented.

Krajinovic is currently without a coach but is currently in ‘negotiations’ with somebody without elaborating further about who that person is.

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Alexander Zverev Secures Place In ATP Finals With Indian Wells Win

Zverev will be seeking to win the season-ending extravaganza for the second time in his career.

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Alexander Zverev (GER) Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Germany’s Alexander Zverev has become the fourth player to officially qualify for the ATP Finals after reaching the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

 

The world No.4 defeated America’s Jenson Brooksby 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, in his second round match on Sunday which pushed him over the points threshold to secure his spot in the end-of-season event. It is the fifth year in a row he has qualified for the ATP Finals which he won back in 2018. He is one of only three German players to ever win the title after Boris Becker and Michael Stich.

This year’s tournament will take place in Turin, Italy for the first time in history after being held at The O2 Arena in London for more than a decade. Only the eight highest ranked players are eligible to play in the round-robin tournament which has on offer up to 1500 rankings points for an undefeated champion.

“My first time in Turin. I’ve been to London four times before. London is obviously very special to me because I won there, as well. I think the stadium is incredible, one of the most special events that we had,” Zverev told reporters on Sunday.
“But I also love playing in Italy. I had great success in Italy. I won my first Masters in Rome. I’m looking forward to being there. I’m looking forward to playing in front of the Italian fans. It’s going to be a great week.”

The 24-year-old approaches the final quarter of this season with four titles already won this year. He has won two Masters 1000 trophies, an ATP 500 event in Mexico and a gold medal in singles at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Zverev, who has recorded seven wins over top 10 players, also reached the semi-finals at both the French Open and US Open.

Zverev joins Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas as the players who have qualified for the ATP Finals so far. It is the third straight season the quartet has qualified for the event.

This year’s ATP Finals will get underway on November 14th. Medvedev is the defending champion.

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Denis Shapovalov Advances After Pospisil Retires In Indian Wells

The battle of the two Canadians didn’t go as planned…

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Denis Shapovalov (CAN) Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Vasek Pospisil faced off against his fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and it was the world number 13 who got the win after the Vernon native pulled out due to an injury whilst trailing 0-3.

 

It was a rough start for Pospisil who seemed to struggle with his serve in the opening game of the match and double-faulted twice in a row to give the early break and Shapovalov had no issues consolidating the break.

Shapovalov continued to apply pressure on the Pospisil serve and after saving two breakpoints the world number 68 pulled up after a serve and stopped play, calling for the trainer. He ended up taking a medical timeout off the court and a couple of minutes later returned to court. Pospisil was broken once again and the following game after a couple of returns decided to call it quits.

” It was pretty awful…and if I’m being honest I am shaking a bit…It really sucks I hope it’s nothing serious…He’s a great guy he’s a real warrior he’s fought back from some injuries surgeries to such a great level.” Shapovalov said of his compatriot.

Shapovalov will face 19th seed Aslan Karatsev in the next round after the Russian thrashed Salvatore Caruso 6-2, 6-0.

In the other results of the day sixth seeed Casper Ruud dominated Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1, 6-2, Roberto Bautista Agut beat the Argentine Guido Pella 7-5, 6-3 and Sebastien Korda won an all American battle with Frances Tiafoe 6-0, 6-4.

Finally, Diego Schwartzman needed three sets to beat another American in Maxime Cressy winning 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.

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