Hamburg Masters Tennis Champions

As with any tournament, the Hamburg Masters has seen its fair share of champions. In the 1930s the son of a German baron, Gottfried von Cramm, overcame tremendous odds to claim the championships over and over again. Then it was the turn of Russian, Andrei Medvedev, to reign supreme and finally, in the closing chapters of the Rothenbaum tournament, the master of precision, Roger Federer, has become the undisputed champion.

Gottfried von CrammPARIS, FRANCE - MAY 4: German baron Gottfried von Cramm (R) enter the court prior to a match against Bernard at France Tennis Open 14 May 1936 in Paris. Von Cramm won the tournament twice in 1934 and 1936. (STF/AFP/Getty Images)

Tall, blonde and good-looking, and an excellent tennis player to boot, von Cramm epitomised the perfect Aryan of Hitler’s madness, and he paid heavily for it. By 1936 von Cramm had already found fame by collecting the mixed doubles title at the Wimbledon Championships as well as two French Open crowns, and he soon attracted the attention of the Fuhrer.

Adolf Hitler wanted to use him as a tool of Nazi propaganda, but the young von Cramm refused to toe the party line. In an effort to punish him, Hitler would not allow him to take part in the 1937 French Open, even though he was the defending champion.

This was apparently not enough for the mad dictator, and in 1938 von Cramm was jailed for committing the crime of homosexuality, and his alleged partner was an actor of Jewish descent. Although he was released in 1939 due to enormous pressure put on the German government by his tennis colleagues in the UK and USA, the political situation in Europe in the late 1930s was chaotic.

He was consequently not allowed to play at either the Wimbledon Championships or the US Open – the respective governments cited his criminal charges as the reason.

Nothing could keep von Cramm down, and from 1932 until 1949, he captured the Hamburg Masters six times. The Hamburg Masters tennis champion played under both the Swastika and the West German flag, and he was a mature 40 years old when he clinched his final title.

Andrei Medvedev

Andrei Medvedev does not boast a hugely auspicious career. The closest he ever got to a Grand Slam title was in 1999 when he met Andre Agassi in the final of the French Open – he was not successful. What he did do well, though, was claim three victories at Rothenbaum, two of which were back-to-back triumphs in 1994 and 1995.

He was good on clay. In fact, the only four Masters Series titles he ever claimed were all on clay – one at Monte Carlo and three in Hamburg. His five-set marathon with Agassi at Roland Garros testifies to the fact that he was, indeed good on clay, and of his 11 singles titles, nine were contested on clay.

Medvedev’s run at the Hamburg Masters:

· 1994 defeated Yevgeny Kafelniko 6-4 6-4 3-6 6-3

· 1995 defeated Goran Ivanisevic 6-3 6-2 6-1

· 1997 defeated Felix Mantilla 6-0 6-4 6-2