Noventi Becomes Title Sponsor Of Gerry Weber Open - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

ATP

Noventi Becomes Title Sponsor Of Gerry Weber Open

A lead-in for Wimbledon, for twenty-six years, the Gerry Weber Open offered
participants and fans grass court tennis at its finest. The tournament will survive
after a few hiccups had nearly squelched it, thanks to the intervention of Noventi.
Read what Mark Winters and Cheryl Jones have to say about the fabled event now
to be known as the Noventi Open.

Avatar

Published

on

Mark Winters and Cheryl Jones

It seems like just yesterday, but in truth it was long ago…

 

On June 8th, I learned that Noventi had become the title sponsor of the Gerry
Weber Open. The announcement left me with the feeling that a dear friend had
passed. My relationship with the ATP Men’s 500 event, played in Halle, Germany,
as well as that of my wife, Cheryl Jones, who is also a tennis journalist, has always
been, well, to say it simply, matchless. Year after year, (save just a few when the
New York Times sent journalists), we have been the only American writers to
cover the championships.

Tennis history buffs known that the first Gerry Weber Open was played in 1993.
But few aficionados are aware that there are actually three towns called Halle, in
Germany. The tennis Halle, Westfalen to be specific, is a small speck on the map,
in the middle of a rolling countryside that is like an Impressionist’s painting of
agricultural fields and seemingly, yet to be explored forests.

The nearest city of name is Bielefeld. It sets its self apart because though it is
quaint, like Halle, it is bigger. Bigger buildings, more shops and a much bigger
population of over 333,000 compared to a hair more than 20,000 in Halle.

At the 1992 ATP World Championships, I learned that the following year Gerhard
(Gerry) Weber planned to stage a grass court tournament – in Germany, the week
after Roland Garros. To borrow a British colloquialism – I was “gobmacked.”

Why would anyone have the audacity to go up against “an institution” as Queen’s
seemed to be, which was the only “Lead Up” to Wimbledon at the time?

Weber, a trend setting clothing manufacturer for whom the tournament is named,
and his partner, Udo Hardieck took a big chance. Many in the tennis community
believed it was a risk that was similar to panning for gold and finding only gravel.
But, as it turned out, true gold was discovered.

After the inaugural year, in which rain plagued play, the Gerry Weber Stadion, (the
center court), made a startling change. A retractable roof that could be closed in a scant 90 seconds was added. In 1994, the tournament became the first tennis event
not forced to contend with those spring rains that makes the theme of tennis played
in Europe a reprise of “Raindrops keep falling on my head…”

Grass court maintenance requires genius. Annually, Phil Thorn lives up to the
sobriquet. Having learned the “ins and outs” of growing those lawns from his
father, Jim, who was responsible for the grass at Wimbledon for ages. The younger
Thorn has proudly maintained the family tradition. He has developed a superior
grass seed mix that withstands the rigors of closed roof play. He also developed a
palate system on which the grass is grown that is much more than an advanced
scientific marvel and it is remarkable.

To fill the Gerry Weber Stadion surface, four hundred palates are used. When dry,
they weigh around 800 kilos (1764 pounds). Damp, they are almost an American
ton – 2000 pounds.

Over the years, a “Who’s Who” collection of name players have populate the
tournament. But, simply put – Roger Federer is the Gerry Weber Open story. He is
a nine-time champion and has a life-time contract with the event. For the
tournament, that guarantees his annual appearance, and it has been money well
spent.

Unfortunately, Gerry Weber AG has not done well during the past decade. When
the owner was at the top of his game, his company’s fashion designs were eye-
catching and appealing to those looking for affordable couture. Cash filled the
coffers and Gerry Weber AG bought a collections of companies that had sizeable
debt. In recent years, rumors of shaky finances began to be heard, and at the same
time, Weber’s health took a turn. All of these circumstances combined to stagger
an established institution and led to its final financial collapse.

The tremors shook the Halle community to its core. The Gerry Weber Open was
long known as “The People’s Tournament”. It was a real family affair and locals
sacrificed vacation time to volunteer for the event. It was part of their souls and
their care provided an unrivaled “feel” for what took place for twenty-six years.
Cheryl and I have experienced the growth that took place from the beginning and
we have rich recollections, enough to make a very readable book, actually.

We are hopeful that the Halle event will flourish and will add a significant new
chapter, (an amendment, actually), to the passing of the Gerry Weber Open mantle
to an equally motivated Noventi.

ATP

Anett Kontaveit beats Petra Martic to reach the final in Palermo

Avatar

Published

on

World number 22 Anett Kontaveit from Estonia upset number 1 seed Petra Martic 6-2 6-4 to reach the final at the Ladies Open in Palermo. 

 

Martic has scored her third win in her seven matches against top 20 players after beating Belinda Bencic and Elina Svitolina. 

Kontaveit avenged her defeat against Martic in their only previous match played in Dubai last February before the lockdown. 

Kontaveit had to fight to hold her serve in the first game of the opening set at deuce and took control of the match by breaking in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead. 

Martic won only 56% on her first serve in the opening set. Kontaveit came back from 0-30 down to hold serve in the seventh game before breaking for the second time in the eighth game to win the first set 6-2. 

Martic earned an early break in the first game of the second set at deuce, but Kontaveit broke straight back to draw level to 1-1. The Estonian player saved a break point before holding serve to take a 2-1 lead. Kontaveit saved five of the six break points she faced. Kontaveit broke for the second time in the fourth game to open up a 4-1 lead. Martic held serve at 2-5 down before breaking serve at 15 in the ninth game to claw her way back to 4-5. The Croatian player received a medical time-out before Kontaveit for the third time in the tenth game at love to close out the second set 6-4. 

Kontaveit will chase her second title in tomorrow’s final three years after winning in S’Hertogenbosch in 2017.

“I felt like I played a very good match today. I was quite aggressive, consistent, and I served especially well in the first set. It got a bit close in the end, but I played a good game at 5-4 and I am happy to be in the final”, said Kontaveit. 

Continue Reading

ATP

Petra Martic comes back from one set down to beat Ludmila Samsonova in Palermo

Avatar

Published

on

Top seed Petra Martic from Croatia came back from one set down to beat qualifier and world number 117  Ludmila Samsonova 5-7 6-4 6-2. 

 

Martic saved six break points in the 10th game of the opening set, but Samsonova converted her third break point in the 12th game to win the first set 7-5. 

Martic earned an early break in the first game to open up a 2-0 lead. Samsonova broke back at love in the eighth game to draw level to 4-4. Martic broke for the second time in the ninth game to win the second set 6-4. The Croatian player broke twice in the third and seventh games to close out the third set 6-2. 

Martic will face world number 50 Aliaksandra Sasnovich from Belarus in the quarter finals. Sasnovich came through the qualifying round before beating Jasmine Paolini in straight sets. 

Former top 30 Camila Giorgi rallied from losing the first set to beat Slovenian teenager Kaja Juvan 3-6 6-2 6-4 after 2 hours reaching her second WTA quarter final of the season. Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 outbreak Giorgi reached the top 8 in Lyon. Juvan qualified for the Main Draw at the Australian Open and beat five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in three sets at the Abierto Mexicano in Acapulco. 

Giorgi started with an early break at deuce at the start of the first set and opened a 2-0 lead. Juvan broke twice to take a 4-3 lead. Giorgi dropped serve for the third time after a double fault on the set point. 

Giorgi came back from 1-2 down by winning five consecutive games with two consecutive breaks in the fifth and seventh games. 

Giorgi broke twice to race out to a 3-0 lead at the start of the third set. Juvan pulled one break back at love in the fourth game but Giorgi got another break to race out to a 5-1 lead. Juvan broke at 30, when Giorgi was serving for the match at 5-2. The Italian player earned two match points and sealed the win on her second chance. 

“I think I was more solid in playing my game. I was moving more forward, so it was much for me. At the start of the match, I was making too many tactical mistakes because I was trying to finish points for no reason. I started to adopt better tactics in the second set and that’s when things started working for me”, said Giorgi. 

Number 4 seed Anett Kontaveit from Estonia came back from one set down to beat Laura Siegemund 3-6 6-2 6-2 after 2 hours and 20 minutes booking her spot in the quarter finals at the Palermo Ladies Open. 

The Estonian player has reached her third quarter final this year after the Australian Open and Dubai. 

Kontaveit set up a quarter final against Elisabetta Cocciaretto, who became the youngest Italian player to reach the quarter final of a tournament since Sara Errani in 2006. 

“I am quite happy about the way I was handling close situations, playing the close games and turning the close games around. I thought I actually handled that sort of pressure, that I didn’t think I would be used to, quite well”, said Kontaveit. 

Continue Reading

ATP

Andrea Gaudenzi recognizes the contribution of the Italian Tennis Federation in staging the Internazionali d’Italia

Avatar

Published

on

ATP President and former Italian tennis player Andrea Gaudenzi spoke in an interview to Italian TV channel Supertennis about staging the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome before the French Open and recognised the contribution of the Italian tennis Federation (FIT) in staging the tournament in the Italian capital. 

 

The Rome ATP Masters 1000 and WTA Premier 5 tournaments will be held from 20th to 27th September one week before the French Open (27th September to 11th October). 

“We are grateful to everyone, holding an event this year is difficult from an organizational and financial point of view. We thank the Italian Federation and those who organize the Challengers. Italy is making a great contribution. I think the players are waiting for the BNL Internazionali d’Italia. The Foro Italico is among the most beautiful venues in the world. Rome is splendid in September”, said Gaudenzi. 

During his tennis career Gaudenzi scored wins over Roger Federer in Rome 2002, Pete Sampras in the first round of the 2002 French Open, Jim Courier in the 1994 US Open, Goran Ivanisevic, Thomas Muster, Michael Stich and Yevgeny Kafelnikov. Gaudenzi claimed three ATP titles in Casablanca in 1998, St. Poelten and Bastad in 2002. He graduated in law at the Bologna University and obtained a MBA with Honours at IUM.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending