Tennis Point Exhibition Series Kicks Off In Germany

Tennis Point Exhibition Series – photo: Twitter/Exo-Tennis

STARNBERG, May 1, 2020

“Bringing tennis back” – that’s the slogan of the Tennis Point Exhibition Series, which kicked off in Germany on Friday morning. The tournament will be held over the upcoming three weekends at the BASE Tennis Academy in Höhr-Grenzhausen near Koblenz. It has become the first live-tennis event to return to action since the professionals tours were suspended in early March.

“This idea started to really get traction once Germany rolled out plans for a gradual reopening. We are big proponents of technology at Base Tennis and are excited to debut live sports production without the need for full production crews,” said Rodney Rapson, owner of BASE Tennis and Managing Director at PlaySigh.

“More than anything else, we want this event series to be about the players, fans and the sport of tennis whilst still respecting the current health guidelines.”

Generating more big points

Matches are played according the “Next-Gen-ATP scoring system”: best-of-five set matches, but the sets will be first to four (with a tie-break at 3-3), and games will feature no-ad scoring. Players will play two matches per day in an eight-man round robin group format. On the final day of competition, the last group matches will be played, followed by four play-off matches.

Eight players in action

Benjamin Hassan opened the action on an indoor clay-court with a 4-2, 4-2 win over compatriot Jean-Marc Werner. The World No. 354 from Germany secured victory in 50 minutes.

“It was very difficult to get back to a match rhythm after such a long time,” Hassan said afterwards. “The atmosphere on the court is pretty odd. It is very quite and you need to get used to the rules.”

Hassan has played his last professional match when he represented the Lebanon in the Davis Cup World Group I Play-off tie against Thailand at the beginning of March. The 25-year-old, who captured his first and so far only title on the ITF World Tennis Tour at Doha, Qatar two years ago, struggled with injuries in recent times but wants to get back to his best.

How does he feel playing the tournament amidst the COVID-19 crisis? “I feel safe,” Hassan said. “We stick to the social distancing rules, so every person you meet is about two to three meters away from you.” 

According to the tournament’s website, a couple of on-court measures are strictly enforced during the event:

  • No contact between players and the umpire, such as shaking hands, will be allowed before, during and after the matches.
  • A designated area was set for the chair umpire, which is measured on court and within safe distance guidelines.
  • The players are to sit opposite of each other, changing sides walking by opposite net poles.

Dustin Brown and top-ranked Yannick Hanfmann won both of their matches on the opening day. Brown defeated Jean-Marc Werner 4-3 (7-5), 4-3 (7-4) followed by a 4-2, 4-2 victory over Constantin Schmitz. Hanfmann, currently sitting at World No. 143, beat Johannes Haerteis 4-0, 4-1. In the final match of the day, the 28-year-old fought past Hassan 4-2, 3-4 (5-7), 4-1.

The series will continue with the second stage of the round-robin matches on Saturday.