The tennis tournament in Gstaad wants to return to its former glory.Photo: KEYSTONE
Thanks to its long tradition, the Swiss Open Gstaad will be held again after a 15-year break, as always, right after the Grand Slam at Wimbledon.
Rolf R. bichsel/keystone-sda
Tennis tournaments have been organized in Gstaad since 1915, since 1937 under the brand “Swiss Open”. From 1915 to 2008, after Wimbledon, tennis cleats moved to Gstaad in the Bernese Oberland, to the “Alpine Wimbledon”.
But in the 2000s, when the championship had to endure existential crises, the traditional history was lost. For many, this was the beginning of the decline of the more traditional Swiss tennis tournament.
Now the organizers have succeeded in restoring the ancient history right after Wimbledon. “It wasn’t easy,” sums up Jeff Collett, who has now been tournament president for more than 20 years. “For the ATP, it was clear that we were ready for later. Mainly thanks to our huge traditions, we were able to convince the ATP that it was right to allow our tournament of more than a hundred years to be played again at its historical point in Good time right after Wimbledon. »
The date immediately following Wimbledon represents a great opportunity for Gstaad, as in the same week this year a final tournament will be held on grass courts in Newport, USA, and a clay court tournament in Bstad, Sweden. In Nieuwpoort only specialists play on the lawn, in Bastad the organizers work (as in Gstaad) with modest financial resources. In the weeks that followed, the competition was much bigger – for example the German Open in Rothenbaum in Hamburg (ATP 500) and the first championships in the US Open Series (Atlanta, Washington).
Roger Federer has often played (and won) in Gstaad in the past.Photo: KEYSTONE
“From a sporting and organizational point of view, it is very good for us that we can organize the Swiss Open before the start of the traditional summer tournaments in the USA,” says Collett. Those players who want to play clay again after Wimbledon prefer to do so early, because later in the summer the best players from the ATP Tour will have to play on hard courts in the USA. In 2024, Gstaad could also take advantage of the fact that the Olympic tennis event in Paris at Stade Roland-Garros will also be played on clay immediately after the tournament in Saanenland.
When the 2009 Swiss Open was subsequently moved to the summer in the restructured tour calendar, the organizers saw an “opportunity” in the new date. All hopes were dashed at that time. Heroism has lost its relevance. Competitive leagues – the latter regularly held in Hamburg – are getting stronger and stronger. In the fifteen years since the traditional post-Wimbledon date was lost, the “Boutique Championship” has always been in the black. However, officials thought about changing the pad more than once. In 2012 they dreamed of a grass tournament in Gstaad before Wimbledon, and later a change to hard court was discussed.
Back on the sands of the Bernese Oberland this year: Stan Wawrinka.Photo: KEYSTONE
Those days are over. The agency “Grand Chelem” has been organizing the Swiss Open and the municipality of Saanen for more than 20 years. Thanks to tradition, the Swiss Open has restored its history; The 100 year tradition of clay court event will be preserved in the future. It is possible that the stars will return to Gstaad in the next few years – as was the case in the past.
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