Stuttgart. The countdown is on: the qualifying matches for the 39th Porsche Tennis Grand Prix begin on Saturday. Numerous Top 10 stars will be competing in the Porsche Arena, including Angelique Kerber. The Porsche Brand Ambassador and defending champion is, after her win at the Australian Open, the first German Grand Slam winner ever to play at the long-standing Stuttgart tournament which will thrill the spectators with top class tennis right up to the final on 24 April.
“Perfect Match” – this year’s Porsche Tennis Grand Prix motto. That the spectators will be able to watch many such matches is down to Angelique Kerber and other players ranked in the current world Top 10. For example, there is the No. 1 seed Agnieszka Radwanska from Poland who won the 2015 WTA Finals and was the runner-up this year in Indian Wells. Also in the line-up is Garbine Muguruza from Spain. Last season’s most improved player is already listed in fourth place in the world rankings. Simona Halep (Romania) stood in the final of the 2014 French Open, Roberta Vinci (Italy) sensationally battled her way to the final of the last year’s US Open. And Petra Kvitova not only won Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014 but is a four-time Fed Cup winner with the Czech Republic team – 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015. Awaiting the winner this time in the Porsche Arena is, in addition to the prize money, a Porsche 718 Boxster S as the main prize.
“For the first time ever, we’re delighted to be able to present our spectators with a German Grand Slam winner in Angelique Kerber,” said Tournament Director Markus Günthardt. “The strong main draw field with numerous world class players promises many hard-fought matches and an exciting week containing women’s tennis of the highest class.”
In addition to the Top 10 stars, tennis fans can also look forward to interesting players ranked amongst the world Top 20. One of them is Ana Ivanovic (Serbia), the 2014 finalist. Another is Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic), a much-improved player with the potential to break into the Top 10 whilst the Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro has been playing top level tennis for years now. The same also applies to Lucie Safarova who was a member of the Czech team that enjoyed success in the 2014 and 2015 Fed Cups. Italy’s Sara Errani is well-known as a clay court specialist. She reached the final of the 2012 French Open and has already won five Grand Slam doubles titles with her partner Roberta Vinci – the last one came at the 2014 Australian Open. The Italian duo was also victorious in the same year at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.
Wild Cards for Annika Beck and Julia Görges
Four other Porsche Team Germany players will definitely be appearing alongside Angelique Kerber in the main draw of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix which in 2015 was again voted by the world’s players as their favourite tournament in its category. Andrea Petkovic and Sabine Lisicki have qualified directly due to their world rankings. Annika Beck and Julia Görges, the tournament winner in 2011, have both been given a wild card. Carina Witthöft, a recent Porsche Team Germany addition, will attempt to secure one of the four remaining main draw tickets in the qualifying tournament.
For the up-and-coming Porsche Talent Team Germany youngsters, the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix is also a season highlight. Anna-Lena Friedsam has to have the best chances of reaching the tournament proper via qualifying. The reigning German champion recently reached the last 16 at a Grand Slam for the first time in her career at the Australian Open and battled her way into the final of the WTA tournament in San Antonio. She is on the verge of breaking into the world Top 50.
Tennis history to come alive in “Duel of Legends”
The first day of the main draw matches also traditionally has the “Duel of Legends” on the menu – and tennis history will come alive in the Porsche Arena. As a part of the Berenberg Classics, Michael Stich, Germany’s last Wimbledon men’s singles winner, will take on American Michael Chang at 6.30 pm on 18 April. Prior to that, the former Grand Slam winners will play what is sure to be an entertaining exhibition doubles with Angelique Kerber and Porsche works driver Mark Webber, the 2015 world endurance champion.
Further highlights amongst the supporting programme of events are the appearances of the Stuttgart Ballet on the Centre Court in the Porsche Arena. On Monday, 18 April and on finals day on Sunday, 24 April, the world famous company will perform “PS”, a piece choreographed by Katarzyna Kozielska. These attractions and a highly diverse mixture of sport and entertainment should once again this year make the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix a memorable experience for the whole family.
The qualifying matches begin at 10.00 am (all times are local) on Saturday, 16 April and at 11.00 am on Sunday, 17 April. Start of play is scheduled for 12.00 am Monday, 18 April through to Thursday, 21 April. The quarterfinal matches will commence at 2.00 pm on Friday, 22 April. The first semifinal on Saturday, 23 April will begin at 1.30 pm as will the final on Sunday, 24 April.
Tickets for the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix are available at Easy Ticket Service (Tel + 49 711 255 55 55) or in the internet at www.easyticket.de. April 16 and 17 are both Kids’ Days with free admission for children up to 12 years.
The Porsche Tennis Grand Prix on television
The Porsche Tennis Grand Prix will be televised by the regional SWR channel and Eurosport. The latter will show Monday’s Duel of Legends between Stich and Chang live from 6.30 pm and one match daily at 6.30 pm from Tuesday to Friday. Additionally, highlights of the first semi-final on Saturday will be shown at 5.00 pm and the second at 8.15 pm. Highlights of Sunday’s final will be televised at 11.00 pm. SWR will broadcast live from the Porsche Arena from 2.00 to 4.00 pm on both Thursday and Friday and from 1.30 pm on Saturday and Sunday. There is a special service for fans as matches will be livestreamed via ran.de and tennis.de. The final will also be shown on porsche-tennis.de.
718 Boxster S: combined fuel consumption 8.1 – 7.3 l/100 km, urban 10.7 – 9.5 l/100 km, extra-urban 6.5 – 6.0 l/100 km; CO2 emissions 184 - 167 g/km; efficiency class (Germany): F-E.
Images in the Porsche Newsroom (http://newsroom.porsche.com) and for accredited journalists in the Porsche press database (https://presse.porsche.de)