Tennis: Allianz Suisse Open in Gstaad

 

This tennis tournament in Switzerland’s beautiful Bernese Oberland was initiated in the 1930s by Walter von Siebental, grandfather of Köbi Hermenjat, today’s director of the event. By 1937 the tournament had been awarded Swiss Tennis Championship status. Initially the matches were played on the courts of the illustrious Hotel Palace, high above the village, but they were soon moved to the present location in the heart of Gstaad – the Roy Emerson Arena. Köbi Hermenjat has been involved in the Gstaad tennis tournament for most of his life, as a ball boy, linesman, and a player in the 1950s. He took on his present role in 1965 and has been able to welcome many great players to the clay court. The 92nd event took place from 7 to 15 July 2007. The 25-year-old Frenchman, Paul-Henri Mathieu, won the ATP tournament in a hard-fought, almost 2 ¼ hr match in baking heat against Italian outsider Andreas Seppi, 6:7, 6:4, 7:5. France had to wait 69 years before a French victory at Gstaad with last years champion Richard Gasquet. 

Now Paul-Henri Mathieu (ATP 28) has consolidated the French grip on the title – for the moment at least. Andreas Seppi (ATP 111) was no easy opponent. After a nervous start and facing three set points, the 23-year-old won the first set in a tiebreak. However, No.5 seed Mathieu held his nerve, despite being 3:5 down in the second set, and fought back to win the rock crystal trophy.

Insurance company Allianz Suisse has been the event’s main sponsor since 2001. The tournament is extremely popular with the public, who appreciate a week of superb tennis in an idyllic setting. Sometimes called the ‘Wimbledon of the Alps’, the tournament ranks as one of the most prestigious on the ATP circuit.

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