A Wealth Of Top-Ranked Talent Descends Upon Porsche Tennis Grand Prix

Petra Kvitova and Operating Tournament Director Anke Huber (photo: Porsche Tennis Grand Prix)

STUTTGART/WASHINGTON, April 18, 2022 (by Michael Dickens)

There’s a wealth of top-ranked talent that has descended upon Stuttgart, Germany this week for the 45th edition of the WTA 500 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.

When the draw for this year’s indoor event was announced Sunday at Porsche Arena for the traditional spring European clay season opener, it revealed seven of the world’s current Top 10 players – including new World No. 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland – in the field of 28. Awaiting the tournament’s champion will be a Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo as the main prize that goes with first-prize money of $68,570 and 470 WTA Rankings points.

Plus, there are two former Stuttgart champions from 2018 and 2019, Czechs Karolina Pliskova, ranked No. 7, and No. 28 Petra Kvitova, who were drawn to face each other in the opening round, and two teenage stars – American sensation Coco Gauff, ranked 16th, and 12th-ranked reigning US Open champion Emma Raducanu of Great Britain – who are making their Porsche Tennis Grand Prix debuts. Last year’s champion, former World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty of Australia, retired last month.

The other Top 10-ranked talent besides Swiatek and Pliskova includes: No. 3 Paula Badosa of Spain, No. 4 Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, No. 5 Maria Sakari of Greece, No. 6 Anett Kontaveit of Estonia and No. 10 Ons Jabeur of Tunisia.

After a first-round bye as one of the top four seeds, the top-seeded Swiatek, who is in the midst of a 19-match WTA Tour winning streak – plus two additional wins for Poland at last weekend’s Billie Jean King Cup Qualifiers – will face either 342nd-ranked German qualifier Eva Lys or No. 38 Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland in her Stuttgart debut. Raducanu, who will open against 197th-ranked qualifier Storm Sanders of Australia, looms as a possible quarterfinal opponent for Swiatek, who has won three WTA 1000 events this season, in Doha, Indian Wells and Miami.

Meanwhile, No. 2 seed Badosa awaits the winner between No. 19 Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan and 224th-ranked German qualifier Nastasja Schunk. She is in the same quarter of the draw as Jabeur.

Complete Stuttgart Tennis Grand Prix draw

“We’re delighted that so many players will again be competing at this year’s Porsche Tennis Grand Prix,” said Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board at Porsche AG. “The tournament has a worldwide appeal and is a fantastic flagship for Porsche and the Stuttgart region. It’s why we’re happy that spectators are being allowed back into the Porsche Arena and that we can present them with live world class tennis.”

German presence in this year’s Porsche Tennis Grand Prix

Following wins during the final round of qualifying Sunday, Germany’s Nastasja Schunk and Eva Lys have both earned main-draw berths. Both are members of the Porsche Talent Team and each has a chance to prove themselves among the best players of the WTA.

Schunk will play Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan while Lys will play Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland.

Additionally, two other German players, 2017 champion Laura Siegemund and Jule Niemeier, are in the main draw as a result of being awarded wild cards. No. 231 Siegemund will play No. 27 Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia in her opening match, while Niemeier will oppose Canada’s Bianca Andreescu, who is making her 2022 debut in Stuttgart following a lengthy mental wellness respite from the Tour. The 121st-ranked Andreescu’s last competition took place last October at Indian Wells.

The main draw also includes Porsche Brand Ambassador Angelique Kerber, who is currently ranked 17th, and will face No. 5 seed Anett Kontaveit in the first round. The 34-year-old Kerber, who is the oldest player in the main draw, is making her 13th appearance in Stuttgart. She has twice won the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix singles title, in 2015 and 2016.

“We players love this tournament,” Kerber said during a recent interview with Porsche. “For us, it’s akin to a spa oasis in the daily life on the Tour. Being made to feel welcomeis a very special feeling, no matter whether you’re a star or a qualifier. Ever since I first played in qualifying in 2005, the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix has basically accompanied me throughout my career. I was able to gain lots of experience here, experience that has advanced my career. I also learned things even when I lost. I always look forward to returning to Stuttgart.”

Aces for Charity – Porsche to donate for children from Ukraine

Porsche will donate 100 euros for every ace hit during the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix as part of the Aces for Charity campaign. The donation will be divided up equally between “Stiftung Agapedia” foundation and the regional “Landessportverband Baden-Württemberg” sports association. “With the traditional charity campaign, we want to acknowledge our societal responsibility as a company,” said Sebastian Rudolph, Vice President Communications, Sustainability and Politics at Porsche AG. “We are delighted to support charitable organizations. This year, our focus is on projects for refugees from Ukraine.”

Looking ahead to Monday

Three Top 10 singles players – Spain’s Paula Badosa, Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus and Ons Jabeur from Tunisia – will be in action in doubles, all featured in the same match. Badosa and Sabalenka will face Jabeur and Ellen Perez of Australia in the final match of the day.

The 28-player singles draw begins with two matches: No. 40 Zhang Shuai of China will oppose No. 39 Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia followed by No. 31 Liudmila Samsonova of Russia versus 103rd-ranked qualifier Chloe Paquet of France.