Günthardt: “Porsche Tennis Grand Prix Was Outstanding In Every Sense”

Elena Rybakina (photo: Porsche AG)

STUTTGART/WASHINGTON, April 22, 2024 (by Michael Dickens)

The 47th edition of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, which wrapped up Sunday afternoon in Stuttgart with World No. 4 Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan winning the title, fulfilled all expectations. The WTA Tour’s annual start to the spring European clay season was a success.

“This year’s Porsche Tennis Grand Prix was outstanding in every sense. We are very happy and satisfied,” said Tournament Director Markus Günthardt.

Consider this: Over 31,000 people attended this year’s Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. The last four sessions – from Thursday’s second round through Sunday’s title matches – were sold out in the 4,200-seat Porsche Arena.

“We have enjoyed world class tennis on the courts, and off-court, our program of side events has set high standards,” Günthardt added.

Looking back, eight Top 10 players were in the 28-player singles field, led by World No. 1 Iga Swiatek, who was a two-time defending champion. Five of the Top 10 players reached the quarterfinals and there were three Grand Slam winners in the semifinals. Tournament champion Rybakina is a former Wimbledon champion and currently is ranked No. 4.

Operating Tournament Director Anke Huber was also highly positive when reviewing the 47th edition of the WTA 500 tournament.

“All-in-all, we can be very pleased with how the tournament has gone. The spectators were treated almost daily to thrilling matches right up to late in the evening. I’ve never seen such good tennis,” she said.

Tournament director Markus Günthardt on this year’s tournament:

‟On the Centre Court in the Porsche Arena, the players have once again proven that our tournament is one of the best in women’s tennis. The quality of the matches was amazingly high. The fact that the top stars battled to the very last point is a clear indication just how important our tournament is. Winning the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix counts for the players. 

“Another plus point for our tournament is the fantastic and fair crowd that cheers on each and every player. It’s precisely the thing that we as organizers want. Behind the scenes, we have also set high standards, from gastronomy to shopping and entertainment. We are striving to create a Porsche product that meets the expectations of every individual person.

“The fact that we were sold-out from Thursday to Sunday and that over 31,000 spectators have found their way into the arena sends a clear message. The media coverage with a total of 74 hours of TV and live stream transmissions in Eurosport and DAZN was also excellent.

“I would also like to highlight our new show event on Monday that, with its high-quality, might well offer an additional stimulus for future tournaments. All-in-all, I am very pleased with the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix.‟

Operating tournament director Anke Huber with a tennis point of view:

‟We have watched tennis of a very high caliber, perhaps the best tennis I’ve ever seen here. The matches, especially those on Wednesday between Laura Siegemund and Marta Kostyuk and between Aryna Sabalenka and Paula Badosa were exceptional. 

“On that day alone, we were able to enjoy over 12 hours of world class tennis. Many matches went to three sets and were hard-fought right to the end. It shows how even and compact women’s tennis is in the meantime, especially at our tournament. 

“We had eight Top 10 players competing, five of them reached the quarterfinals and there were three Grand Slam champions in the semifinals. We are very pleased with the way our tournament has gone. On most days, the action continued into late evening, with some matches lasting over three hours. The players that made it to the final – Marta Kostyuk and Elena Rybakina – are the two that performed the best. Both deserved to be in the final.”

Aces for Charity: Porsche donates 60,000 euro for a good cause

Not only was the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix a success, the Aces for Charity fundraiser that has been a fixture for many years at the long-standing Stuttgart tournament benefited, too.

Porsche donated 200 euro to charitable organizations for every ace struck. Up until the final, a total of 178 outright service winners were hit and Porsche rounded the sum up to 60,000 euro.

The money has been divided up equally between the Stiftung Agapedia foundation, and the Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe. The cheques were presented before the final on Centre Court by executive board member Albrecht Reimold from Production and Logistics of Porsche AG. The money will go towards funding projects for refugees from Ukraine.

Singles champion Elena Rybakina played a major role in increasing the donation as she delivered a total of 26 aces.

Meanwhile, Sunday’s crowd was warmed up for the final by an enthralling dance performance by world-famous Stuttgart Ballet. Composing fascinating images, the dancers presented an extract from Roman Novitzky’s “Under the Surface.”