STUTTGART, May 6, 2015
One month ahead of the Mercedes Cup’s first edition on grass, the event’s organizers and the main sponsor presented the car for the 2015 tournament’s winner.
Besides the prize money of 104.600 € and 250 ATP ranking points, Stuttgart’s champion will receive a Mercedes-AMG GT S. The car has 510 PS and costs almost € 150.000. Henri Leconte, 1984 Mercedes Cup champion, had a test drive together with Formula 1 safety car driver Bernd Mayländer at the Hockenheim racing circuit last Saturday.
“This is an outstanding car with a great facility of driving. I love it! It is such a beauty, especially in this colour,” the Frenchman was excited. “When I won the title here in Stuttgart thirty years ago, I got a jacket as a special prize. Today’s players are really lucky,” the former world number five was joking.
The players are also excited about the car. “If you want to beat me, you have to give your best. Grass is my best surface and I want to win the car,” Feliciano López told via video message.
The entry list of this year’s Mercedes Cup led by world number four Rafael Nadal is also worth to watch. But it’s not only the Spaniard, who entered the tournament. Current US-Open champion Marin Cilic, Gael Monfils, Philipp Kohlschreiber and a couple of the young guns on the ATP World Tour like Bernard Tomic, Dominic Thiem or Borna Coric will play the tournament taking place from June 6 to June 14. German rising tennis star Alexander Zverev has already received the first of three wild cards. 19-year-old Thanasi Kokkinakis wants to play qualification.
Tommy Haas also tries to finally return to courts. “Tommy wants to set his focus on the grass court season now,” Edwin Weindorfer, tournament director and also manager of the 37-year-old German, stated. “He wants to play Stuttgart, Halle and eventually Wimbledon, but only as long as his shoulder is fine. He only wants to come back when he is really at 100%.”
Regardless of Haas’ decision playing the Mercedes Cup or not, the tournament has already found its superstar. “Without wanting to offend Novak Djokovic, but I think there are only two top stars in tennis worldwide representing the sport in the best possible way. And these two are Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal,” Weindorfer stated.
“We have been working hard to get Nadal for the inaugural grass court tournament and are very happy that it worked out. He has to defend his points at the French Open and then has the chance to get closer to the top by winning in Wimbledon. I hope that he will capture the title at Roland Garros arriving on Monday in Stuttgart with two or three days of practice before he will play his opening match on Thursday,” Weindorfer said about a possible schedule for the Spaniard.
“Maybe he even wants to play doubles. We will discuss such a possibility with Toni (Nadal) during the first round in Paris. If he doesn’t make it to the final of the French Open, I would like to have him playing on Wednesday, as he would be able to arrive earlier.”
Nadal and the organizers in Stuttgart agreed on a one-year-contract. “We only made the contract for one year, as next year it will be our 100th anniversary. It is not a secret that we want to have Roger Federer playing the 2016 edition. So we just have to look at our budget. Having a two-years-contract with Nadal might prevent getting Federer. We will wait and see. Maybe we have the chance of getting both or only one next year,” Weindorfer explained his ambitious goals.
“Conditions here will be perfect for the players. We have one full time green keeper in Stuttgart as well as support from Wimbledon. We use the same seeds as they do in Wimbledon. The Slazenger balls will be also the same. The players can prepare perfectly on their road to Wimbledon. Unfortunately, the players will not be dressed in white. Most of the sponsors prevent this,” Weindorfer explained.
“Tickets for Friday and Saturday are sold out already. The run to tickets is huge. Everyone wants to see Nadal,” Weindorfer stated and added that they are going to erect extra stands to increase the seating capacity on centre court.