After 18 months of renovation work, the site of the Hamburg European Open has been transformed ahead of the 2020 edition of the tournament.
The new-look Rothenbaum Tennis Stadium, the main court for the ATP 500 event, was recently unveiled in a special ceremony attended by Vice President of the German Tennis Federation (DTB), Hans-Wolfgang Kende, Hamburg’s Sports Senator Andy Grote, Hamburg European Open tournament director Sandra Reichel, entrepreneur and patron Alexander Otto and the first chairman of the Club an der Alster, Dr. Carsten Lütten.
The tournament, which will be held from 21-27 Septmeber, has an impressive history of past champions. Seven former World No. 1s have lifted the trophy, including two-time champion Rafael Nadal (2008, ’15). The Spaniard has made four visits to the event, claiming 16 wins from 18 matches.
“Hamburg is a very important tournament for me. I won the title twice here and enjoyed unforgettable matches,” said Rafael Nadal. “I remember my first win against my current coach and close friend Carlos Moya in 2003. I also know that my 81-match [clay] winning streak came to an end in the 2007 final against Roger [Federer]. The new Centre Court is going to be great. I want to congratulate you and wish you the best.”
Alongside improvements to its centre court, which also include a new façade, modern seating and increased capacity for wheelchair users and the visually impaired, the Hamburg European Open has renovated its players’ centre and entrance plaza. The tournament’s previous Hall of Fame has also been upgraded, with a new, digital ‘Walk of Champions’ taking its place. Visitors can scan a range of QR codes to discover information about the tournament’s history, including past champions.
In the Open Era, only one German player has managed to lift the Hamburg trophy. One year after falling to Stefan Edberg in the 1992 championship match, Michael Stich defeated Thomas Muster and Ivan Lendl en route to the 1993 trophy. Stich and 1990 runner-up Boris Becker shared their positive wishes for the tournament, where they earned a combined 34 singles victories.
“Now the time has come! The new Center Court will open its doors and it will surely be an absolute dream!” said Stich. “I think it is great that Alexander Otto is so committed, giving the players the chance to experience a completely new feeling on court. Of course, the spectators will also be happy about it the same way. I will always carry the Rothenbaum in my heart.”
“I am also pleased that the Rothenbaum site has finally been renovated,” said Becker. “I have many memories of the tournament. Most of them are pretty good. Well, we do not talk about one or the other defeat. We are in 2020 and I am pleased that the Rothenbaum will shine in its old splendour again.”
The tournament received €10m in funding to complete the site improvements, including an €8m donation from The Alexander Otto Sports Foundation. Otto’s company, ECE, were responsible for the project management and design planning. The City of Hamburg contributed €1m to the renovation of the roof. The German Tennis Federation with its subsidiary DTB Stadion and Marketing GmbH, as well as local tennis and field hockey club, Club an der Alster, provided the remaining funds for the project.
“I am delighted with the result,” said Alexander Otto. “The stadium has been completely renovated and with its now international, modern look, a successful re-positioning of the Rothenbaum brand takes place. It is great to see what we have created here as partners. Players and visitors are invited to come and stay at the Hamburg European Open, which is the perfect framework to celebrate the stadium’s inauguration.”