The All England Club, Wimbledon, has welcomed the announcement that the ATP World Tour event in Stuttgart, Germany, will become a grass court tournament from 2015.
The tournament’s request to move to a grass court event taking place the week following Roland Garros in the lead up to Wimbledon beginning in 2015 was approved by the ATP Board of Directors at its recent meetings in Miami.
With Wimbledon taking place a week later in the calendar from 2015, a three-week gap will be incorporated in the ATP World Tour calendar in between Roland Garros and The Championships, meaning an additional week of tournaments in the lead up to Wimbledon.
Richard Lewis, Chief Executive of the All England Club, said: “The three-week gap will create a longer grass court season between the French Open and Wimbledon, allowing the players more time to recover from the demands of playing at Roland Garros and then to prepare for The Championships. We are delighted to welcome the MercedesCup as a very important first step in building this exciting new extension to the grass court game. It is a highly respected tournament with a fine history and with whom we have a great relationship, and we look forward to working closely with them as we develop the opportunities for top class grass court tennis.”
Brad Drewett, ATP Executive Chairman and President, said: “The ATP is pleased to confirm that the request by the MercedesCup in Stuttgart to move to a grass court event in the week after Roland Garros from 2015 has been approved by the ATP Board of Directors. The MercedesCup in Stuttgart presented an extremely thorough application and we have full confidence that they will deliver a high-level ATP grass court event in the lead up to Wimbledon. As part of our process in setting the 2015 ATP World Tour calendar, we continue to review other options for the three-week period between Roland Garros and Wimbledon in 2015.”
Edwin Weindorfer, Tournament Director of the MercedesCup, said: “On behalf of the MercedesCup and its long tradition, I would like to thank the ATP and its Board of Directors for their trust and commitment to award Stuttgart with a grass court tournament starting in 2015. We have worked very hard on this and we are convinced that our investments in the new and permanent grass courts and infrastructure will be well rewarded. The new grass courts will be built in close cooperation with Wimbledon expertise and supervised by Wimbledon grass court experts. Thanks to the long-term support and commitment of Mercedes-Benz, the TC Weissenhof and our other sponsors and partners, this project will now become reality. Our ultimate goal is to provide the best players in the world perfect grass court playing conditions to take home the winner‘s Trophy of the MercedesCup ahead of The Championships at Wimbledon!”
The MercedesCup will join the Aegon Championships at Queen’s Club, the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, the Aegon International in Eastbourne, the Topshelf Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships in Newport as ATP World Tour grass court tournaments.
The first edition of the tournament in Stuttgart was held in 1898, with Mercedes-Benz assuming the role of title sponsor from 1979.
Pictured above (L-R): Dr Joachim Schmidt - Head of Global Marketing, Mercedes; Edwin Weindorfer - Tournament Director, Mercedes Cup; Laurent Delanney - CEO of ATP Europe; Dr Susanne Eisenmann - Head of Sport, Stuttgart City Council; Dr Gert Brandner - President, TC Weissenhof (the host club); Richard Lewis (Chief Executive, AELTC)