Fascinating gala at the start of the anniversary week in the Porsche Arena
The Porsche Tennis Grand Prix was officially opened on Monday with a glittering Celebration Night to mark the tournament’s 40th birthday. The audience in the sold-out Porsche Arena saw a gala featuring elements from classical music and vocals, pop and ballet, stunning artistic performances and surprising pyrotechnics. Renowned artistes from all over the world, including the soprano Daniela Vega, the tenor Cenk Biyik, Victor Moiseev from “Cirque du Soleil” and soloists from the Stuttgart Ballet presented, at times, a scintillating and then at others an almost melancholic show of the highest class. The players competing at this year’s tournament were introduced to the spectators on the fancifully illuminated and decorated Centre Court and impressive images of the former winners were to be seen on a large screen. Providing the poetic connecting passages sitting symbolically in the umpire’s chair was Richy Müller who plays a Stuttgart detective in a popular German television series.
Honorary guest, Tracy Austin, who won the first Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Filderstadt in 1978, travelled specially to Stuttgart for the occasion. The American, a four-time winner of the tournament, was chauffeured onto Centre Court by the former Porsche racing driver Mark Webber in an historical Porsche dating back to 1978. In a Porsche 911 GTS Cabriolet, the current winner’s car, was the title-holder Angelique Kerber and Porsche CEO Oliver Blume who said: “Porsche has a great tradition and the tournament also has a great tradition. Let us all come back here and celebrate the 50th birthday.” High praise for the favourite tournament of the players came from the WTA CEO Steve Simon: “The Porsche Tennis Grand Prix stands for 40 years of excellence,” he said. “And it has been setting many standards for the whole tennis world for years now.”
There were also many tennis highlights on Monday – alongside Angelique Kerber and Laura Siegemund, Tamara Korpatsch is the third German in the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix main draw. The 21-year old world No. 140 defeated the Russian Evgeniya Rodina 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 in the final round of qualifying. Also in the main draw is Jelena Ostapenko from Latvia. She beat the American Jennifer Brady 5-7, 6-1, 6-3. Another player to claim a place in the tournament proper is the Japanese Naomi Osaka after her 7-5, 6-2 win against Katharina Hobgarski from Porsche Talent Team Germany. Anett Kontaveit (Estonia) has also secured herself a berth in the 28-player field after beating the Czech Lucie Hradecka 6-3, 6-7, 6-1 in her final qualifying match. Completing the tournament line-up is lucky loser Jennifer Brady after Dominika Cibulkova, the 2016 WTA Finals winner, was forced to withdraw with a wrist injury. Her place in the seedings has now been taken by the Spaniard Garbine Muguruza.
In the doubles, Laura Siegemund from Porsche Team Germany and her partner Asia Muhammad from USA have reached the second round. They beat the all-German pairing of Annika Beck (Porsche Team Germany) and Anna Zaja from the local TEC Waldau club 6-3, 7-5.
Images of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in the Porsche Newsroom (http://newsroom.porsche.com) and for journalists in the Porsche press database (https://presse.porsche.de)
Porsche 911 Carrera GTS Cabriolet: fuel consumption combined: 9.4 – 8.4 l/100 km; CO2 emissions: 214-190 g/km.