Former World No. 1 and 22 time Grand Slam champion Steffi Graf has welcomed the change of the surface at the new women's tournament in Berlin. Speaking to The Bild, the 50 year old German tennis legend says, "One can only congratulate the initiators on this idea.
I have many wonderful memories of Berlin . I am very pleased that the new lawn tournament continues the long tennis tradition in Berlin and that history is now being continued." The WTA event, which will have a prize money of 765,000 euros, will take place on the grass from June 13 to 21.
The German Open (currently known as the Grass Court Championships Berlin) was played in West Berlin, West Germany (until 1990), then Berlin, Germany from 1991 to 2008 following reunification. Held since 1896, it was one of the oldest tournaments for women.
Until 1978 the tournament was held in Hamburg together with the men's tournament. From 1988, it was classified on the WTA Tour as a Tier I tournament. The top German players Angelique Kerber and Julia Görges have already confirmed their participation for the tournament.
The stadium on the LTTC Rot-Weiß facility is named after Steffi Graf, with a capacity of 7,000 seats. Graf had won the tournament 9 times in 11 years (from 1986 to 1996) when it was held on clay courts - The tournament will be part of the WTA Premier Series and has taken the licence from the WTA event in Birmingham.
The venue will feature three grass courts, which have been built in co-operation with the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC).