The WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) is returning to Switzerland after an eight-year gap with a clay-court tournament in the alpine resort of Gstaad in July.
Organisers of the “Ladies Championships Gstaad” say the tour has confirmed their event will replace the previously scheduled tournament in Bad Gastein, Austria, on the calendar. Prize money will total $226,750 (CHF223,600).
The Gstaad tournament will be played from July 11-18, immediately after Wimbledon. The men’s Swiss Open, which last year celebrated its centenary in Gstaad, will be played the following week on the same courts.
The WTA Tour previously visited the exclusive resort in the Bernese Oberland in 1983. The most recent top-tier women’s tournament in Switzerland was the indoor Zurich Open in October 2008, won by Venus Williams.
The tournament’s director, Jean-François Collet, said they were now looking for a main sponsor. “It’s going to be tight finding one this year,” he acknowledged. “The tournament can be held without a headline sponsor, but it wouldn’t be ideal.”
Collet added that one of his first jobs would be to convince the best Swiss players – for example, Belinda Bencic and Timea Bacsinszky (8th and 21st in the WTA rankings) – to make the trip up the mountain.
“But this news is really hot off the press and talks haven’t begun properly.”
swissinfo.ch and agencies