MUNICH, April 30, 2022
For the first time in the history of the BMW Open by American Express, an exhibition wheelchair tennis event took place along with the prestigious ATP 250 clay-court tournament. Eight international top players competed for the Allianz Para Trophy led by World No. 1 Alfie Hewett from Great Britain.
The 19-time Grand Slam champion defeated No. 4 seed Martin de la Puente of Spain 6-3, 6-0 in the semi-finals but fell to second-seeded Argentine Gustavo Fernandez 6-2, 7-6(3) in Friday’s championship match.
“Having a wheelchair tennis tournament parallel to the ATP event is great for us. That helps enormously to bring our sport forward and I hope that we can also be here in the years to come,” said Fernandez, who earned €8,000 in prize money.
The Allianz Para Trophy was a full success! 💯👏
Thank you to all players, who have participated here in Munich.
Hope to see you guys soon 🙌🙂@allianz_de#bmwopenbyamex #itftennis pic.twitter.com/vnpQh30rWi
— BMW Open by American Express (@BMWOpen2022) April 29, 2022
Wheelchair has its own professional tour, the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour, which boasts over 160 tournaments across 40 different countries in every region of the world. The Tour offers over $3million USD in prize money and culminates in the season-ending NEC Wheelchair Masters and UNIQLO Doubles Masters.
“As part of the ITF Tour we have numerous events from the Super Series to Futures giving a lot of players the chance to compete,” Hewett said during a press conference earlier in the day. “It is a very similar sort of tour but it doesn’t get as much as exposure in terms of rounds that we play and amount of spectators that come to watch. That’s why it is obviously really great to be a part of an event like this. There are currently two tournaments where we are integrated with ATP or WTA: ABN Amro in Rotterdam and Queen’s. So, there are only very few events where we get hosted at such great facilities.”
Hewett, a three-time Paralympic silver medalist, was the winner of the Wheelchair Tennis Masters in both singles as well as doubles in 2017 and reached the top of the rankings one year later.
“I train hard. We take it seriously. Tennis is my life. I would love to see more events hosted like this and I hope it will get official in the future years. Other ATP and WTA events can look at this and the ITF would be very welcoming in this decision. For us this is like a Grand Slam,” Hewett said.