Table tennis – European premiere of the Grand Smash series postponed – sport

The first table tennis Grand Smash tournament in Europe should have started this Monday in Budapest. The tournament series World Table Tennis (WTT) designed these season highlights based on the model of the four Grand Slams in tennis. But the WTT and the hosting Hungarian Table Tennis Association postponed the premiere indefinitely at short notice and without official notification. The background is the lack of financial guarantees that the Hungarians could not provide. Instead, three tournaments from lower categories are now taking place in Budapest one after the other under the title “European Summer Series”. The Germans Timo Boll and Dimitrij Ovtcharov as well as Olympic champion Ma Long from China are taking part in this week’s “WTT Star Contender”.

“Organizing a Grand Smash costs millions,” said German association president Claudia Herweg on Monday to the German Press Agency. “We are currently negotiating with WTT ourselves about the organization of international tournaments in Germany from 2023. Compared to the categories WTT Star Contender and WTT Champions, a Grand Smash moves on a completely different level of presentation. Higher prize money, a much more sophisticated transmission technology, a complex design des Center Courts: The to-do list is very long and expensive. And we’re not China, which means we don’t just get it financed by the state.” The start of the new premium product Grand Smash has therefore not yet been able to keep what the WTT series promises in terms of attention, prestige and marketing effects. Because of the corona pandemic, only one tournament could be played in Singapore in March. When the next Grand Smash competition will follow is still open. “That’s not conducive to table tennis, because I support the idea of ​​WTT,” said Herweg. “The pandemic is simply a disaster for the events sector.”



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