As DTB President, you succeed Ulrich Klaus, who withdrew his candidacy for re-election at short notice. Why did you feel that the association needed a new boost?
German tennis is well positioned, the presidium has done a good job. But we have various levers that we need to change. On the one hand, there is the structure; we have to be more professional. Many full-time activities are carried out on a voluntary basis. There is a clear mandate for us as a team. We also have to ensure data security and also improve the DTB’s marketing situation. We created a concept for this, which ultimately received broad approval.
You were tournament director at the World Team Cup and you run an advertising agency. How can you benefit from these experiences?
With my agency, I mainly look after medium-sized customers. As a service provider, just as we as DTB must position and understand ourselves. At the World Team Cup I led a team, worked with sponsors and just tried to make and present the tournament better. As a result, I gained a tennis background, and most recently as President of the Lower Rhine region, I gained further know-how. I hope to be able to contribute.
Your presidium team includes two people who, despite being elected, keep their offices as presidents in regional associations. The statutes were changed specifically for this purpose. Why?
In order to implement our goals, we need the cooperation of the regional associations. Our team was formed from these. Our work will continue to be monitored in the regional associations and by the general assembly.
The ethics committee of the DTB had nevertheless warned of conflicts of interest.
Let us assume as a concrete example that we as the Presidium want to decide to increase the membership fee. This would be discussed in the regional associations and would then have to be confirmed by the federal committee. This is a democratic process that no one can avoid. So I see the control function as a given.
Among other things, you are calling for tennis to appear differently in the Corona crisis. What have you missed so far?
We need to make it clearer that tennis is an individual sport. And as such, it must be viewed in a more differentiated manner – unlike team sports or contact sports, for example. If I was allowed to hold a company event with 60 people on 700 square meters, I cannot understand why, for example, two people, sometimes even from the same household, are not allowed to play on a tennis court of 600 square meters. Tennis is part of the solution, not the problem.
Politicians would presumably oppose the fact that it is currently about the general avoidance of contacts. So also about the journey, the changing rooms …
… and I absolutely agree with that. If that’s the risk, we can’t practice our sport. But when we start to open up sport, we have to look at individual sport and thus tennis differently. That’s what we stand for.
The Australian Open begins on Monday. Almost unthinkable for us: there will be up to 30,000 fans every day. Is tennis playing a pioneering role in Australia that you would like to see here in Germany too?
The Australians have implemented their measures very rigidly. Also towards the tennis players. It’s difficult to copy in Germany and Europe. I cannot therefore demand such a role for professional sport. But in popular sport, I’ll stick to it: We can do it. We already proved that in April and May. That is why my appeal is: let’s get back on our feet soon!