Neckarcup Organizers Announce Changes And Challenges

Neckarcup press conference in Heilbronn

HEILBRONN, May 27, 2024

When the first balls are hit on the three courts at the venue of the Tennis Club Trappensee in Heilbronn on Sunday, June 2, the NECKARCUP will celebrate its tenth anniversary. Tournament Director Metehan Cebeci, along with his wife and co-tournament Director Mine Cebeci from the organizer C2B GmbH, as well as Sponsorship Manager Tom Bucher, announced what spectators can expect during the tournament week until June 9 and the challenges they faced in organizing the anniversary tournament at Friday’s press conference held at the exclusive partner AssenheimerMulfinger.

One of the key changes is that the NECKARCUP will return to the ATP Challenger 100 category this year, as it was in 2022. “We decided to revert from last year’s 125 category to a 100 category tournament to maintain the high standards of the NECKARCUP. If we had retained the 125 status with higher prize money, we would have had to make cuts elsewhere, which was not an option for us,” explained Metehan Cebeci.

Sponsorship challenges have been greater this year than in previous years, according to Tom Bucher. “Compared to last year, we lost 20 sponsors but gained 13 new ones, which resulted in our budget decreasing by about five to seven percent amidst rising costs,” said the organizer responsible for sponsorship and finances. Nonetheless, the NECKARCUP can proudly rely on the support of over 100 sponsors. Bucher noted, “Such a high number of partners is unique for events in the Heilbronn region.”

The sponsorship field is led by the two exclusive partners, AssenheimerMulfinger and Hörtkorn Unternehmensgruppe, long-time key partners of the NECKARCUP.

Over 200 people, more than 90 percent of whom are volunteers, will ensure that the tournament is conducted with the usual high quality. “We have a total of 110 helpers, 20 drivers, 69 ball kids, nine officials for tournament operations, and ten line judges on site. It is important to mention this number because it is rare these days to find so many volunteers and motivate them anew every year,” said Mine Cebeci. Notably, the number of line judges is significantly lower compared to previous years.

Electronic line-call

The reduction in the number of line judges, from the usual 40 to 50, is due to another significant innovation at the 10th NECKARCUP. “In consultation with the ATP, we have been selected as the first Challenger and the first clay court tournament worldwide to use the FOXTENN line-calling system from the Spanish high-tech company,” explained Mine Cebeci. “High-speed infrared cameras will be placed at the ends of all lines, capturing up to 3,000 images per second to accurately determine whether a ball has touched the line or is out. This eliminates disputes between players and officials, and reduces the need for many line judges, who will primarily serve as backups and match assistants.”


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As usual, spectators will be entertained on four evenings at the NECKARCUP Festival. “We are pleased that we didn’t have to cancel any acts and can offer guests the full range of evening programs, both as public and private events,” said organizer Mine Cebeci. The first highlight is the legendary Opening Party with the band Perfect Heat on Saturday evening (June 1). On Wednesday evening, tennis fans can look forward to a Meet & Greet with the players at the Players’ Evening in the NECKARCUP Village. After the quarterfinals on Friday, the duo Mike & Aydin will bring laughs with their comedy cabaret “Nord-Süd-Gefühle,” and on Saturday, the Closing Party with live music from Blacky & Friends will wrap up the NECKARCUP Festival.

Elahi Galan leads player’s field

The field is led by five players currently ranked inside Top 100: Daniel Elahi Galan (Colombia, 90), Sumit Nagal (India, 93), Hugo Gaston (France, 96), Luca Van Assche (France, 97), and Maximilian Marterer (Germany, 98). Additionally, former top 20 players Benoit Paire (France) and Albert Ramos-Vinolas (Spain) will be part of the line-up. 2018 NECKARCUP champion, Rudolf Molleker from Germany, will also return to Heilbronn.

Of the four wildcards, only one has been awarded so far: the Württemberg Tennis Federation has granted 18-year-old German junior champion Lasse Pörtner his first ATP Challenger participation. The recipients of the two wildcards from the German Tennis Federation and the tournament director’s wildcard will be decided in the days leading up to the tournament. “There are already many inquiries, but the allocation will ultimately depend on who gets eliminated in the first week of Roland Garros in Paris,” said Metehan Cebeci.

Heilbronn’s Mayor Harry Mergel, who attended the press conference on Friday, is also looking forward to top-notch tennis in Heilbronn: “The region is fortunate to have such a highly professional tournament like the NECKARCUP, which positively promotes Heilbronn globally. Many thanks to everyone who makes the tournament possible.”

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