Hamburg Masters Winners

Hamburg, GERMANY: Rafael Nadal of Spain returns a ball to Lleyton Hewitt of Australia in their semi final tennis match at the ATP masters tournament Am Rothenbaum, 19 May 2007 in Hamburg, northern Germany. Nadal won the match 2-6, 6-3, 7-5. AFP PHOTO DDP/ROLAND MAGUNIA GERMANY OUT (ROLAND MAGUNIA/AFP/Getty Images)
As with so many of the clay court tournaments, the Hamburg Masters has consistently been won by players from Europe and Latin America. They learn to ply their trade on clay from early on, and consequently have the upper hand when it comes to claiming the Masters Series clay court championships – the Monte Carlo Masters, the Rome Masters and the Hamburg Masters.

The last American to contest the finals of the Hamburg Masters was Jimmy Connors in 1981. He failed to win the title, however, with Australian Pete McNamara walking away victorious. Since then the event has been contested at the highest level by Europeans and players from Latin America, especially Argentina.

The 1960s saw Australian domination for a time – stars like Rod Laver, Fred Stolle, Roy Emerson, John Newcombe and Tony Roche ruled supreme. Then it was the time of the Germans. Apart from an eight-year burst from the Brits in the late 1800s and into the early 1900s, the event was owned by the local boys from the beginning of the competition right up to the end of the 1940s.

Today, of course, the Hamburg Masters has become the personal playground of the maestro of tennis, Roger Federer. This Hamburg Masters winner has snatched the title four times, and if his present form is anything to go by, he should snap the title up for the fifth and final time. He has been so powerful that only one of the finals ever went further than three sets, and that was in 2004 when he clobbered Guillermo Coria of Argentina in four sets 4-6 6-4 6-2 6-3.

The doubles event has been a bit more of a balanced affair. Contestants from all over the globe have been regular winners, and no one doubles tandem has consistently taken the title. South Africans, Americans, Europeans and Australians have all been successful at one time or another.

One country which is remarkable by its absence is again the United Kingdom, or Great Britain. Only Neil Broad in 1997, together with South African partner, Piet Norval, has ever reached the finals. They were defeated by Luis Lobo of Argentina and Javier Sanchez of Spain 6-2 3-6 6-4.

The defending champions are the Bryan Brothers, currently the number one duo in the world. All expectations will be on them to clinch the final doubles event in 2008, but there are some strong protagonists who could well give them a run for their money, including Hanley & Ullyett, Knowles & Nestor, Llodra & Santoro and Bjorkman Mirnyi.

For a concise list of all the past winners of the Hamburg Masters click here.

Who will be the Hamburg Masters winners of the men’s singles and doubles events in 2008?