Stuttgart. Anke Huber is the perfect person to fill the role as Operating Tournament Director at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. She has good ties with the players, enjoys their trust and respect which is probably down to the fact that she herself was a world class player and even stood in the final of the 1996 Australian Open. She knows from her own experience what a player wants, what a player needs and what makes a player tick. “They all have different personalities,” she says, “It makes everything so interesting.”
She has been doing the demanding job at the interface between the WTA, players and tournament since 2002 – with aplomb and charm but also with resoluteness depending on whatever is required. “The work has changed a lot over the years,” she says, “The players no longer have the easy life of former times.” When she took on the post as Operating Tournament Director one year after retiring, players came to the tournaments and could generally concentrate fully on their tennis. Everything has changed now. Today the players have a lot more to do fulfilling off-court duties – for example press responsibilities or making themselves available for sponsors and fans.
“It obviously has an effect on my work as there’s more to do with each year,” says Anke Huber. Her tournament week is far from being boring. She organises activities with the players like for example autograph sessions and is also involved in arranging the order of play. “Sometimes things get a little stressful,” she says, “but my job still gives me a lot of enjoyment.”
A mother of two children, though her free time is somewhat limited she nevertheless tries to keep in contact with the players as much as possible during the rest of the year. She consequently travels every year to New York for the US Open and occa-sionally also pays a visit to the French Open in Paris. Her end of season itinerary then takes in the WTA Championships in Singapore. “Over the years I’ve got to know most of the players quite well. It naturally helps my work,” she says. However there are some newcomers she has not met yet.
“Anke is immensely important for the tournament”
When Anke Huber was celebrating her biggest successes, some of the players creating a furore today were still in sleepers. The most outstanding match of her career was the 1995 Masters - final against Steffi Graf that she eventually lost in five hard-fought sets. One year later Monika Seles prevented her from winning her first Grand Slam title in the final of the Australian Open. During the course of her career, Anke Huber claimed 12 WTA titles, including the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix on two occasions: in 1991 she beat the great Martina Navratilova in the final and in 1994 Mary Pierce.
“Anke is immensely important for the tournament,” says Tournament Director Markus Günthardt. “She has a good relationship with the players even though they come from a different generation. It creates mutual trust which otherwise would be very difficult to get.”
That the world’s top tennis players keep meeting up in the Porsche Arena is also down to Anke Huber. She is naturally proud of the way the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix has grown. “I’m so pleased we’ve again got such a strong line-up of players this year and that we can present so many stars to our audiences,” she says. Whoever wins the final on 26 April and with it the key to the beautiful Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS Cabrio* is not something she wants to predict. When talking about the chances of the Porsche Team Germany players, she was only prepared to say, “One always has to reckon with Angelique Kerber and Andrea Petkovic.”
*911 Carrera 4 GTS Cabriolet: Fuel consumption urban 13.9 – 12.5 l/100 km; extra-urban 7.7 – 7.1 l/100 km; combined 10.0 – 9.2 l/100 km; CO2 emissions 235 – 214 g/km; efficiency classes: G – F