Tennis / WTA ($ 125,000). The Grand Est Open 88 changes universe

Grand Est Open 88 de Contrexéville

From the 4th to the 10th of July

March 11, 2022, second birth certificate. On this particular day, the Grand Est Open 88 changed in size and universe. “Contrexéville is now one of the 71 cities in the world that have the opportunity to host a WTA (Women Tennis Association) tournament. They chose us without having asked to enter this fold that we believe is really unattainable. We asked for the specifications and, unconsciously or not, the association decided to try the adventure “, says Eric Perussault, president of a human-scale association but who has never backed down in the face of obstacles.

As such, the Grand Est Open 88, which will coexist from 4 to 10 July with cities such as Prague (1.3 million inhabitants), Palermo (675,000), Hamburg (675,000), Budapest (1.8 M), constitutes a kind of UFO. “An association that organizes a tournament of this importance does not exist anywhere else. Our shareholders are … volunteers. »

27-page specifications have been swallowed. Improved facilities. “From the outside, the general public will not see all that this entails, but it is huge,” confirms Véronique Perussault, director of the tournament.

With the help of 70 business partners and local authorities, the budget has doubled (from just under € 300,000 to just over € 500,000 (including the promotion of volunteers)) to enter the 125,000 tournament fold. dollars.

Diane Parry and Kristina Mladenovic registered

More than ever, the event is part of a sustainable development policy (Le sport s’engage label) and focuses mainly on local businesses. At the end of the tournament, capacity will be increased to 1,200 seats. “We don’t want to become an elitist tournament, admission will always be free, this is also an exception on the WTA circuit,” added Eric Perussault.

The visible part of the iceberg remains: the sports side. “We have struggled to keep our date, which is the second week of Wimbledon. We will have a draw for eight qualifiers and a final draw of 32 plus eight doubles. We have three invitations (plus one at the discretion of the federation) for 11th to 50th place in the world eliminated in the first rounds of Wimbledon Our referee will be Pascal Maria (Editor’s note: the man with 14 Grand Slam finals), adds Véronique Perussault.

The list of players, which must be handled with caution because the lines will move from there in early July, offers on paper, good guarantees. With high-level seeds (Italian Jasmine Paolini, 62nd in the world; Hungarian Anna Bondar, 63rd; Russian Varvara Gracheva 69th; Dutch Arantxa Rus, 77th). But also with a large number of French women whose identities will speak to both the general public and informed observers: the promising Diane Parry (3rd round at Roland-Garros this year, 82nd in the world), the powerful Océane Dodin, in places (85th), Harmony Tan (121st) and a certain … Kristina Mladenovic (119th).

But the real attraction may be hidden behind another surname. Do you have to remember that Martina Trevisan, No. 1 seed in the last edition of the Grand Est Open 88, reached the Roland-Garros semifinals this year? Or that Jelena Ostapenko, invited to Contrexéville in 2015, won Roland-Garros two years later?

The program: Classification on July 3; Final table from 4 to 10 July.

An increase of three decades

The adventure began in 1994 with the exhibition tournament that saw great players step on the tracks of Contrexéville (Pioline, Champion, Santoro, Rios future world number 1, Grosjean, Clément, Benneteau, Escudé, Mahut … ). The Fed Cup and a France-Italy match (with Mauresmo, Testud, Dechy Razzano) took place in 2001. In 2002, flooding surpassed the tournament, which moved to Vittel from 2003 to 2006, before returning to Contrexéville in 2007 to climb the ladder: $ 50,000 until 2013, then $ 100,000. Today you are part of the main circuit (Women’s Tennis Association).

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