SCHWIEBERDINGEN, January 9, 2016
With the ninth edition of the Südwestbank Tennis Grand Prix, the ITF Future Circuit returns to Schwieberdingen kicking-off with the qualifying next Sunday.
The entry list is led by world number 280 Marek Michalicka. The 29-year-old Czech, who clinched ten ITF Pro Circuit titles in his career, started his season at the Qatar Exxon Mobil Open in Doha but lost in the opening round of the qualifying to Dustin Brown.
“With Michalicka and Frenchman Sebastian Boltz participating, we will have two players ranked inside the top 300 in Schwieberdingen this year. This is outstanding for an international tournament of the lowest category,” said David King, tournament director of the Südwestbank Tennis Grand Prix.
The biggest name of the event and most interesting player, however, will probably be Andreas Beck. The tournament’s potential third seed lives in the region and is going to open his 2016 campaign in Schwieberdingen. Beck reached a career high at world number 33 in November 2009 and played for Germany in the Davis Cup but had to cope with injuries during the last couple of years. Yet, the 29-year-old is keen on starting another comeback.
“Carpet is not my favourite surface but I enjoy playing in front of my house door. This is a great opportunity for my fiancée and her family to watch my matches,” Beck told on Wednesday and will be joined by approximately nine more Germans in the main draw.
With four more US-$10,000 events (in Hammamet, Antalya, Plantation, Long Beach, Bagnoles) taking place the same week from 11 to 17 January, the tournament in Schwieberdingen represents the start of a short ITF indoor swing on German soil. Tournaments in Kaarst and Nussloch will follow the next two weeks.
The tournament in Stuttgart-Stammheim will only be held for women this year and Schwieberdingen’s place in the tennis calendar is also uncertain. Due to an increase in prize money for the smaller events starting in 2017, the tournament is forced to find new sponsors. “This is necessary in order to finance a total prize purse of US-$15,000 next time,” told King. Otherwise a tenth edition of the Südwestbank Grand Prix is not going to happen.
For more information visit the tournament’s facebook page.