German Open Hamburg: Overview

The German Open clay court competition will take place from 18-26 July 2009. In 2009 the Hamburg Masters will be downgraded from the ATP Masters Series and replaced with an event in Shanghai, China. Thousands of spectators are still expected to converge at the German Open Venue in Hamburg to witness the great Roger Federer and defending champion, Rafael Nadal in their quests for victory at the International German Open.

Only Eddie Dibbs in the 1970s and Andrei Medvedev in the 1990s have come close to matching Federer’s open era record at Rothenbaum to date.

Prior to the Second World War, there were three notable exceptions to Roger’s pursuit of dominance in Hamburg, and they were Englishman Josiah Ritchie, Otto Froitzheim and Gottfried von Cramm, two local crowd favourites.

Together the Germans claimed 13 singles titles and their ascendancy was such, that they played under the flag of the German Empire – during the reign of the Kaiser, the Nazi Swastika and the current German flag.

In this overview of the German Open or Hamburg Masters tennis tournament, it is notable that no Englishman has been successful in Hamburg since Ritchie way back in 1908. It is also remarkable that no American has claimed the title since relative unknown Harold Solomon clinched the final from Guillermo Vilas in 1980.

The doubles competition has been pretty evenly shared by the main contenders over the years. No one doubles tandem has dominated in recent years, as even the world’s top ranked doubles pairing of Bob and Mike Bryan walked away defeated in 2008 by Daniel Nestor and Nenad Zimonjic. Hamburg Masters history can be traced back to the late 1890s when the city of Hamburg was paralysed by the fifth cholera pandemic. The 8 600 deaths did not deter the city fathers from arranging the very first lawn tennis competition at the site of the current Rothenbaum tennis centre.

The competition’s popularity grew from year to year, and Hamburg even tried to cajole the ‘powers to be’ to allocate a European Grand Slam to Rothenbaum. Sadly, they lost out to the All England Club in Wimbledon and Roland Garros in Paris.

There is every reason to visit the final Masters Series event to be held in Germany. If you are considering a bit of Hamburg travel you can well expect that all the top guns will come together to pay their last respects to Rothenbaum and the Deutschen Tennis Bundes.