The individuals of Vienna have the choice of a singular backdrop for his or her lunchtime sandwiches this week, because of the Erste Bank Open.
Since 2021, the ATP 500 in Vienna has been the house to some of the distinctive second courts on the ATP Tour. While the principle stadium courtroom is positioned within the metropolis’s west contained in the Wiener Stadthalle, the event’s second area, the #glaubandich (German for ‘Believe In Yourself’) Court, is nestled proper in the midst of the Austrian capital’s historic metropolis centre.
The non permanent stadium is erected on one half of the ice rink on the Vienna Ice Skating Club. Its location not solely offers the tented courtroom an attention-grabbing backdrop outdoors, but additionally ensures that top-level tennis is as accessible as doable for busy Viennese going about their days.
“I had in thoughts to activate tennis within the metropolis centre,” event director Herwig Straka instructed ATPTour.com. “Vienna is a fairly large metropolis, and the Stadthalle shouldn’t be within the metropolis centre. The feeling was that contained in the tennis group, everyone is aware of concerning the occasion, however outdoors not. Positioning a second match courtroom within the metropolis centre attracted a whole lot of new followers, younger followers, a brand new viewers. This was the essential thought.”
The #glaubandich Court is positioned on the Vienna Ice Skating Club. Photo Credit: Andy West/ATP Tour.
To additional open the event to staff within the metropolis centre, Straka and his group selected one other innovation. Tickets for the #glaubandich Court, which additionally embody free popcorn and free entry to ice-skating subsequent door, may be bought for shortened time slots, with the most cost effective out there granting admission for 2 hours.
This idea, referred to as ‘Erste Bank Open 2 Go’, means these working within the neighborhood can drop by, with out having to rearrange a time off, to spend an hour or two watching a number of the finest gamers on this planet compete.
“It added a whole lot of sights and consciousness within the metropolis for this occasion,” explained Straka. “Part of its success, and we bought out virtually each day fully this 12 months, is attracting a brand new viewers. It’s a really low threshold — you’ll be able to solely pay 10 Euros, you’ll be able to pay for the entire day or solely pay for 2 hours. This is the ‘to-go’ idea, which you could devour tennis for under a restricted period of time.
“That created a brand new viewers. It’s like a restaurant. You attempt it ‘to-go’, you prefer it, and then you definitely return for a four-course dinner. Those individuals [next time] come to the Stadthalle, and I believe that’s a part of its success.”
Fans drop by Vienna’s #glaubandich Court to expertise the ‘Erste Bank Open 2 Go’. Photo Credit: Andy West/ATP Tour.
So far this week, gamers from the Top 50 of the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings who’ve performed singles matches within the centre of Vienna embody Tommy Paul, Karen Khachanov, Francisco Cerundolo, Matteo Arnaldi and Lorenzo Sonego. Meanwhile high seeds Wesley Koolhof/Neal Skupski, in addition to 2022 champions and residential favourites Alexander Erler/Lucas Miedler, are among the many doubles groups which have competed within the coronary heart of one of many world’s most elegant capital cities.
“[The players] like the standard and proximity of the courtroom to the lodge,” said Straka. “We are bettering the second venue year-by-year to match the Stadthalle. Sometimes [at indoor events] the second or third courts don’t match the identical customary — the ceiling peak, for instance. This is the character of an indoor occasion. But the standard of enjoying [at the #glaubandich Court] is nice. That is one thing the gamers additionally like.”
World No. 16 Karen Khachanov meets followers on the #glaubandich Court on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Erste Bank Open/Lars Maurer.