Wednesday, January 14, 2009
German Open WTA tourney canceled
BERLIN -- The German Open was dropped from the 2009 women's tennis calendar after the tournament's owners sold the sanctioning rights to the WTA Tour.
The clay-court event in Berlin had already been downgraded on the WTA's new schedule, with prize money reduced to $600,000 from $1 million. The tournament usually took place in May, one week before the clay-court French Open.
The tournament had been owned by the Qatari Tennis Federation, which decided it no longer wanted to operate an event in Berlin. No other promoter stepped forward to buy the rights to run the tournament; the tour purchased those rights but does not run events.
For now, the German Open has not been replaced on this year's schedule.
"Germany is a very important market for women's tennis, and the tour continues to have a Premier-level event in Stuttgart. If in the future there is interest and opportunity to host another event in Germany, the tour would welcome that," WTA spokesman Andrew Walker wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press on Wednesday.
After a boom triggered by the successes of Boris Becker and Steffi Graf in the 1980s and '90s, the public's interest in the sport has fallen dramatically in Germany.
Germany's top men's tournament in Hamburg has lost its Masters status.