Proposed new WTA event in Berlin 'to cost around €700,000'
Berlin looks set to return to the women’s tennis calendar in 2020 with negotiations underway for the city to host a WTA grass-court tournament in the build-up to Wimbledon, one of the sport’s four major grand slam events.
The proposed tournament will be staged at the Steffi Graf Stadium at the LTTC Rot-Weiss tennis club in the German capital.
Edwin Weindorfer, the licensee of the Mallorca Open, the women’s grass-court tournament which is currently being played in the Spanish island, is planning to switch the venue of that competition to Berlin, according to reports.
Weindorfer is also the organiser of the Stuttgart Open, the grass-court tournament on the ATP Tour.
He told the German press: "We have been in talks with representatives of the LTTC, the WTA and Wimbledon for months. Berlin is an absolutely interesting candidate.
"We are in the process of looking for a different venue for the tournament in Mallorca because we have other plans there. If we can transfer this license to Berlin that would be a good solution."
However, there are potential concerns about the financing of the event as refurbishment of the Steffi Graf stadium could cost as much as €700,000 ($778,820), according to German newspaper Bild.
The venue will require a change to its decking, as well as switching the surface of the existing court from sand to turf.
This is expected to be financed largely by tournament sponsors but organisers could receive support from local government as the Berlin Senate has signalled its interest in hosting another tennis tournament in the city.
Markus Zoecke, the sporting director of the LTTC Rot-Weiß facility, refused to confirm if the venue would stage a grass-court tournament next year.
He told Bild: "I cannot confirm that. But it is true that we are testing such plans. If such a thing should work, then it must become a smash hit for the next 20, 30 years."
Between 1979 and 2008, the LTTC Rot-Weiss in Berlin staged the German Open, a clay-court WTA event.
After the WTA approved the sale of the event to the Gulf state of Qatar in 2004, it was expected to be held in the country’s capital of Doha from 2005 but Berlin continued to stage the tournament until it was taken off the calendar in 2009 after the Qatari owners handed the rights back to the tour.
The German city of Nuremberg has hosted a clay-court tournament in the country since 2013.
If Berlin is added next year, it will become the fourth German city on the WTA calendar, with events also presently taking place in Stuttgart and Karlsruhe.