Stuttgart (dpa) – Tennis is played again. Not at the French Open and without the normal hustle and bustle, but with last year’s Paris round of 16 Jan-Lennard Struff.
The German Tennis Federation will start a competition series with an interesting concept next week. The coronavirus crisis starts on Tuesday under the necessary conditions. “I think this idea is just a cool thing,” said Struff.
What is behind the DTB series?
All tournaments on the WTA and ATP tours have been canceled since mid-March. Officially, the break currently runs until July 31. It is doubtful that it will continue. In this compulsory break, the DTB wants to help its players bridge the time and enable them to practice matches in preparation for day X, which is not yet foreseeable.
“After a long break, the players always need a while to regain their rhythm and to show their true performance,” said Davis Cup team manager Michael Kohlmann. National trainer Barbara Rittner said: It is about “getting the whole sport back on track”. She worked on the details of the series with DTB sports director Klaus Eberhard.
Do the tennis stars Angelique Kerber and Alexander Zverev play along?
No. Neither the three-time Grand Slam winner Kerber nor the world ranked seventh Zverev are among them. The series is also not necessarily designed for the best German professionals. The most prominent participants in addition to the German number two struff are the US Open round of 16 Dominik Koepfer and the French Open winner in doubles, Kevin Krawietz. The women’s team is led by Laura Siegemund and Anna-Lena Friedsam from the Fed Cup team. Carina Witthöft’s attempt at comeback, which has long interrupted her career, becomes interesting. 32 men and 24 women take part.
How do the mini tournaments work?
Whoever loses is not immediately eliminated – unlike most other professional tournaments. Everyone competes against each other in groups of four, followed by placement games between two groups at one location. It starts with a preliminary round, the top two of the groups move on. With an intermediate, semi-final and final round, the series runs until July 26th. Men (from 9.6.) And women (from 16.6.) Play – apart from the final week – alternately on a weekly basis. The winners of the final round will receive prize money of 8,000 euros, previously a maximum of 4,000 euros per week. World ranking points are not distributed.
What is different than usual?
Shaking hands or hugging after the match is off limits. The DTB had a hygiene concept developed, which the respective organizers had to have approved by the responsible authorities, as DTB sports director Eberhard explains. Ball children and line judges will not be on the court, there should only be one chair umpire. Spectators are not allowed – according to the current status. The series has little in common with a normal tournament because only Germans participate.
Where to play
In eleven cities. Bundesliga clubs and locations of smaller tournaments were preferred in the selection, and federal bases are also included. The men start in Troisdorf, Überlingen, Großhesselohe and Neuss, where the top seeded struff competes against Mats Moraing, Benito Sanchez Martinez and Peter Heller in his group. The women start in Stuttgart, among others. The final rounds will take place in Großhesselohe (July 21-24 / men) and Versmold (July 23-26 / women).
Is it the only event of its kind?
No. From May 1, a small series was held in Höhr-Grenzhausen in Rhineland-Palatinate. From mid-June, an Adriatic tour by world number one Novak Djokovic should begin, which Zverev is also participating in. Two short tournaments are also planned for mid-July in Berlin – with Zverev, the former Wimbledon semi-finalist Julia Görges, but also with top player Dominic Thiem from Austria and the Australian Nick Kyrgios.