A few years ago the WTA Stuttgart Tournament Director Markus Gunthard claimed that Angelique Kerber makes the event sell more tickets than how Maria Sharapova does. Now in an interview to TW USA Gunthard explained: "If you have a local hero at Wimbledon and Andy Murray plays the final, it does not make a difference.
Here Angelique Kerber is our local hero, she has won three Grand Slam titles, she was world No. 1 in the world and she is the No. 1 player of the tournament regardless of Maria and Serena. It will be like this every year Kerber plays the event in."
On what it means to run such a big tournament like Stuttgart, Gunthardt added: "I always say it's not a tennis tournament, it's an event. What happens on the court is because of players, but anything else if because of the organizers.
The room for the media, the off-court entertainment and we have just more than tennis. We need to have a public area for activities and we work on it the whole year, also the marketing part... It's very busy, like with all the events."
When do negotiations start to bring players? "It's not a real negotiation. The player starts to plan the season in September. It depends on how she plays, what her ranking will be at the end of the year and normally the ideal time is in September during the US Open.
Hopefully, we will convince her to play in Stuttgart." A lot of top players will compete in Stuttgart including the world No. 1 Naomi Osaka who approaches the clay season being confident.