KITZBÜHEL, August 5, 2018
A lot of happy faces could be seen among the organizers and sponsors of the Generali Open during the final press conference, held in Kitzbühel ahead of the finals on Saturday morning.
“We are very pleased with the week. More than 47,000 spectators attended the tournament throughout the week. This may not be the number of last year but it was a very difficult year without local favourite Dominic Thiem,” tournament director Alexander Antonitsch told.
Thiem decided to skip the ATP 250 clay court event in order to prepare for the American hard court swing, competing at the ATP 500 event in Washington this week.
“However, we managed to come through our baptism of fire. Players were very satisfied, as they enjoyed the atmosphere and the treatment here. They just felt comfortable,” Antonitsch pointed out.
Chances that Thiem will be part of the line-up in Kitzbühel again in the future are not the worst. “We have a very good relationship with Dominic and his family,” Herbert Günther, president of the Tennis Club Kitzbühel said.
Kitzbühel And Umag Want To Swith Weeks
“We have seen the tournament grow from 25,000 spectators to 50,000,” Octagon Vice President Jorge Salkeld is pleased with the development of the event.
“This international tournament has also provided the perfect platform for the Austrian players to shine as well as to grow as players. We have seen Dominic growing, now Ofner coming and we want to continue that way. There are also plans to revamp the stadium in order to provide even better services for the sponsors and the fans. That is going to be great.
“This is also the home for Dominic Thiem. This is his surface here. Washington has a very nice surface, but this one here is the nicer one. Washington is for Donald Trump, Kitzbühel is for the real tennis players, who like the clay,” Salkeld caused plenty of laughs in the press room.
For sure Kitzbühel will stick to the clay in the future but the organizers of the ATP 250 events here in Tyrol and in Umag have already agreed on switching the dates of the tournaments in 2019 at the latest. The Croatian Open should be then held on hard courts in the run-up to the US Open series.
“It is a complex matter. There are different angles in this decision. The moment you announce that Europe will organize a hard court event the same week as in America, the outcry in the States will be huge,” Salkeld explained.
“The other angle is that we are shortening the clay court season, which will be another set of issues. There are lots of forces, that are pulling. Our message to the ATP is to have the players play in the week before a Masters 1000 event on the same surface as the Masters 1000. That is the correct thing to do. But now this is up to the board,” Salkeld concluded.
Under this scenario, the tournament in Umag would then take place the week before the Rogers Cup Masters 1000 event in Canada. However, as long as the ATP has not approved the switch, the next edition of the Kitzbühel tournament will be held from 28 July to 4 August 2018.