HAMBURG, July 17, 2016
Ahead of Sunday’s final of the German Tennis Championships in Hamburg, tournament director Michael Stich took the opportunity to express displeasure with the tennis calendar 2016 but also clarified that the spectators had a great opportunity to watch world class tennis at the Rothenbaum venue.
“We were definetely not satisfied with the player’s field as well as the overall situation this year and we have already voiced our criticism to the ATP as well as to the ITF. It hasn’t been the first year with a packed calendar with Davis Cup and the Olympic Games. However, if was not possible for the associations to constuctively deal with this situation. As a result the tournament here, but also in Bastad and Newport, had to suffer,” Stich stated and added:
“The ATP didn’t tell us that players were allowed to pull out only one day ahead of the start of the tournament. I will talk to the ATP about this situation and I will clarify what this fact means to the organizers of the event. I hope that we all can learn from our mistakes in the future.”
The tournament’s most popular players are still the locals but from seven Germans appearing in the main draw, only one made it to the quarterfinals, as top seed Philipp Kohlschreiber fell to Renzo Olivo on Friday. Hamburg native Alexander Zverev, who salutes from every tournament poster in the city, lost in the opening round to Inigo Cervantes. Alongside his brother Mischa, they were knocked out in the first round of the doubles competition in only 39 minutes, winning just two games.
“The performance from most of the German players was dissapointing for themselves as well as for us, with the exception of Louis Wessels, who gained his first ATP ranking points and is now able to start on senior’s level to participate in ITF Futures and ATP Challenger events.”
No player of the original top three (Thiem, Anderson, Bautista-Agut), who entered the German Open, eventually arrived in Hamburg. Consequently, the ATP 500 event took place without a top 20 competitor.
“With Thiem and Anderson, two players withdrew from the tournament due to illness. That’s simply bad luck. We are only dissapointed from the players, who entered the tournament in the full knowledge that it is also the week of the Davis Cup and consequently pulled out of Hamburg.”
Stich also pointed out that the quality of tennis during the week was excellent.
“Nonetheless, the spectators enjoyed great tennis sport and we have with Cuevas and Klizan two players in the final, who both had won an ATP 500 tournament earlier this season. They do know how to play tennis.”
The former Wimbledon champion is determined to hold the tournament in Hamburg and has also a vision for the near future.
“I would like to organize the event beyond 2018. The German Tennis Federatin (DTB) as the licence holder told that we will be their first choice in order to extend the contract. Furthermore, I am confident that we will have the chance to re-establish an ATP Masters 1000 event here in the next couple of years.”
In 2017, the tournament is going to take place the week of July 24, in 2018 it will be held the week of July 23. The ATP 250 events in Gstaad and Atlanta will be played the same week. A new ATP calendar will be released in 2019.