World class tennis in a small mountain village – Gstaad celebrates its 100th edition

Centre court at Swiss Open in Gstaad

GSTAAD, July 28, 2015

The international tennis tournament in Gstaad is not just the largest event on the ATP World Tour in relation to the local population (9,200 inhabitants), or even the highest in Europe (1,050 m – 3,445 feet), it is also one of the fifteen oldest international tennis tournaments in the world still running today.

The event celebrates its 100th anniversary this week and here are some milestones in the tournament’s history:

1915 The Gstaad Palace Hotle organises an international tennis tournament in collaboration with the Lawn Tennis Club in Gstaad. The event takes place on tennis courts installed two years previously, probably the first courts in the Bernese Oberland. Victor de Coubasch, an active player on the international tennis scene, wins the tournament on a clay surface.

1962 During the early 1960s, Gstaad attracts some of the world’s top players, many of them seeking form performances at Wimbledon. Rod Laver comes to Gstaad as Wimbledon champion and ends up winning the tournament. This year he claims all four majors singles titles to win the overall Grand Slam.

1967 The “Gstaad Internationals” are held as an amateur tournament for the last time. The two best players – Roy Emerson and Manuel Santana – face each other in the final with the Australian winning the title.

1969 After the era of the Open tournaments had begun, the tournament was given a new name: Swiss Open.

1971 Gstaad joins the Grand Prix circuit on the conditions that the tournament is moved to the first of July, immediately after Wimbledon and is included in the second highest of five categories. Only Wimbledon, Forest Hill (US-Open) and the French Open are ranked higher.

1983 The Swiss Open has a title sponsor for the first time. However, the leasing company Keller und Partner turn out to be involved in fraudulent activities. It takes intensive efforts on the part of the Organising Committee to secure the 150,000 Swiss francs promised by the company.

1990 The Gstaad tournament joins the newly established ATP World Tour Series. This tour, which has been launched by professional players, reintroduces player contracts and appearances fees.

1996 Gstaad is voted by ATP players as the “World Series Tournament of the Year” for the second time. The tournament also launches its homepage.

1998 Newly crowned junior Wimbledon champion Roger Federer is awarded his very first ATP wild card for the Gstaad tournament.

2003 The tournament director presents Roger Federer with a special gift in honour of his victory at Wimbledon – a cow, which he calls Juliette.

2004 Wimbledon champion Roger Federer wins the Gstaad tournament too, and this time he is given an alphorn to mark his Wimbledon triumph.

2015 The tournament celebrates its centenary.