Previewing the Top Players and History of the WTA Tournament in Stuttgart

There are nine top ten players at the WTA tournament in Stuttgart, including last year’s winner Iga Swiatek. Wimbledon winner Angelique Kerber is competing in Germany for the first time after her baby break.

When the WTA Tour hits Stuttgart from next Saturday (April 13th) to Sunday (April 21st), one thing is certain: the crème de la crème of women’s tennis will be at the start. This has been the case at the prestigious event in recent years and will be no different at the 47th edition of this tournament.

How does the organizer manage to come up with such an attractive field year after year? Which players are there this year? What chances do the Germans have? Who is former world-class player Andrea Petkovic most excited about and what makes the tournament so special?

Record winner Navratilova: Grand Prix a tournament with history

Although the tournament has only been played in the Porsche Arena in Stuttgart since 2006, the event has existed since 1978. Until 2005, the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix was held in Filderstadt, a few kilometers from Stuttgart. A small place with a big history.

Martina Navratilova, one of the most successful tennis players of all time, was crowned the previous record winner of the tournament. The American won the title six times between 1982 and 1992. Other well-known winners in Filderstadt include the Swiss Martina Hingis and Anke Huber.

Anke Huber attracts the tennis elite to Stuttgart

The woman from Bruchsaler was able to prevail in Filderstadt twice, in 1991 (in the final against Navratilova) and 1994 (final victory against Mary Pierce). Huber is still closely connected to the tournament today. Since 2002, as sporting director of the Grand Prix, she has been responsible for all matters relating to the players.

The 49-year-old is the one who is in contact with the WTA, she creates the game plan and is responsible for making the players “happy on site” (Huber). Because all of this has been working well for years in collaboration with tournament director Markus Günthardt, the world elite always like to come to the Baden-Württemberg state capital.

“Family environment” as an X-factor at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix

“A bit of luck” is of course also part of it, says Huber modestly when asked how exactly she manages to acquire almost every top player for a WTA 500 event. The truth is: the tournament is extremely popular among players.

“The family atmosphere that exists here should not be underestimated,” says seven-time WTA champion Andrea Petkovic. “Tennis players are constantly on the move. They are happy when they come back to a piece of home.”

This family piece of home was not lost when we moved from Filderstadt to Stuttgart. “It was clear that we were trying to maintain the values ​​that were built up in Filderstadt – such as the proximity of the audience to the players, the short distances and the family atmosphere – and at the same time become a modern tournament,” says tournament director Günthardt.

Nine of the ten best players in the world took part in the Grand Prix

That worked, says Petkovic. “It’s a super important tournament, the first in Europe on clay. All European players will be here.” All except Maria Sakkari. With the exception of the Greek, number six in the current world rankings, all of the top ten players in the 28-strong field are competing in Stuttgart this year.

The strong field is led by world number one Iga Swiatek. The Pole is the defending champion. In 2023 – as in 2022 – she prevailed in the final against Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka. Even Anke Huber finds it difficult to predict who could face each other in the final this year. She is convinced: “Anyone can beat anyone in this field.”

The German players at the WTA tournament in Stuttgart

There are also three German players at the start: the 2016 Wimbledon winner Angelique Kerber (Kiel), Tatjana Maria (Saulgau) and Laura Siegemund, a native of Filderstadt, who are in the main field via wild card. Kerber (2015 and 2016) and Siegemund (2017) have already won the tournament in Stuttgart. “We are of course hoping for a final with German participation,” says Huber.

But she also knows that things could be difficult for the German women, and not just because of the strong field of participants. “They come straight from the Billie Jean King Cup in Brazil. It won’t be that easy for the three girls, but we will try to schedule them as late as possible,” says Huber.

Andrea Petkovic is looking forward to her friend Angelique Kerber

In this international team competition, Kerber, Maria and Siegemund are playing for Germany in the qualification until Saturday. From Monday, April 15th, they will be required in Stuttgart. It is not yet clear who the German players will face in the first round. The schedule will be published on Sunday.

Petkovic is especially looking forward to seeing her “friend”, Angelique Kerber, who has returned from her maternity leave. “We don’t have that much time to talk. If we’re at the same tournament, that opportunity is available,” says Petkovic.

Are there still tickets for the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix?

Anyone who would like to watch the tournament live in the arena still has a chance. There are still tickets available for the weekdays, the weekend including the semi-finals and final is already sold out.

When does which event take place where? SWR Sport gives an overview of the most important dates of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix 2024.

The schedule of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix 2024

Saturday April 13th: Qualification

11:00 a.m.: Game starts
Location: Match Court 1 and 2

Sunday April 14th: Qualifying final

11:00 a.m.: Game starts
Ort: Match Court 1

Monday, April 15th to Thursday, April 18th: 1st and 2nd round main draw

Game starts Monday: 2:00 p.m
Game starts Tuesday to Thursday: 12:30 p.m

Ort: Centre-Court

Friday April 19th to Sunday April 21st: Quarterfinals, Semifinals and Finals

Friday: Quarterfinals from 12:30 p.m
Saturday: Semi-finals from 12:00 p.m
Sunday: Final at 1:00 p.m

Ort: Centre-Court

On Monday evening there will also be doubles matches with athletes from other sports outside of the tournament rankings. Alongside Andrea Petkovic and the British Emma Raducanu, footballers from VfB Stuttgart, the Stuttgarter Kickers, basketball players from the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg and ice hockey cracks from the Bietigheim Steelers will be there.

2024-04-10 14:16:00
#Top #lineup #WTA #tournament #Stuttgart


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