Stuttgart. This year’s Porsche Tennis Grand Prix marks the beginning of a new era in the history of the tournament with a long tradition. The world’s best women players will face each other in the Porsche Arena for the time from 30 September to 8 October. “The tournament will be given a new appearance,” promises Anton Hunger, Director of Public Relations and Press at Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG. But he also stresses the prime objective of Porsche is to retain the special character that distinguished the Grand Prix tournament in Filderstadt over the many years.
Ideal prerequisites for a continuation of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix success story are not only provided by the new concept that is even more spectator friendly and one that will surprise visitors with numerous events and attractions all around the Centre Court. Located right in the middle of the state capital’s sporting heart, the Porsche Arena in Stuttgart’s Neckar-Park also stands for the emergence in a new era. Something also eagerly anticipated by the world’s best women tennis expected at the premiere in the state of the art multifunctional indoor arena. Amongst the top players that have notified the WTA of their intention to enter the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix are the World No 1 (as of 8 May) and Australian Open winner Amélie Mauresmo (FRA), who stood in the 2005 Filderstadt final, plus the two-time Porsche Tennis Grand Prix winner Kim Clijsters (BEL/No 2), Maria Sharapova (RUS/No 3), Mary Pierce (FRA/ No 5), who won the tournament in 1993, Justine Henin-Hardenne (BEL/No 7) and Elena Dementieva (RUS/No 8). The 2006 winner can choose between 98,500 Dollar prize money and a Porsche.
On the WTA acceptance list, which, as experience has shown, has more of a provisional character at this early point in time, are also Venus and Serena Williams. A question mark hangs over Serena, who is currently not playing tournaments. One does not know exactly when – and in what kind of form – she will return to the tour. “Should she play here then it’d be fantastic for certain,” said Markus Günthardt, “but either way we’ll, as usual, see a very attractive main draw field with numerous top women players in the Porsche-Arena.”
The move to the Porsche Arena provides the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix with completely new opportunities to develop. Awaiting the players is far more comfort than they were used to in Filderstadt due alone to the greater amount of available space. This includes a more spacious players’ area in which comprehensive medical care can be provided by doctors and physiotherapists. Players additionally will be able to warm up in the hall which reduces the risk of injury. The friendly atmosphere they were accustomed to Filderstadt will not be missing: all the players’ attendants who have been around since the first day in Filderstadt will also be looking after the players in the Porsche Arena.
Under the motto “Girls, Set & Match“, top comfort and lots of surprises along with top tennis await visitors to the highly modern multifunction hall. The stands with seating for 4,400 spectators are close to the court – the seats offer highest comfort. There is a 4,000m² public area with entertainment, shopping and lifestyle in the infield of the neighbouring Schleyer-Halle so that people can relax before and after matches. Sport as well naturally – as the practice court has been relocated to this area, spectators have direct access to the practicing players.
“We not only want the spectators to come to us but we also want them to stay as long as possible and feel happy,” said Markus Günthardt. “It’s why we’ll be offering them lots of ad-ditional niceties over and above the tennis.”
The areas for business clients will be laid out far more spaciously than in Filderstadt and the exclusive VIP lounges will be available from the very first day of the main draw in the Porsche Arena. In addition to the sporting experience, a culinary experience also awaits visitors: managed by Klaus Gunsilius, “Porsche Gastronomy” will be providing delights for the guests’ taste buds.
Organisers Porsche AG have served the first ball of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix 2006 to the fans’ side of the court: ticket prices in the Porsche Arena have remained the same as a thank-you to the spectators that have stayed faithful to the tournament over all the years. It is only possible to obtain tickets through the Easy Ticket service – either by phone on +49 711-2555-555, in Internet at www.easyticket.de or at over 30 box offices in Baden-Württemberg. Day tickets for qualifying on Saturday and Sunday each cost five Euro. During the course of the tournament week, ticket prices increase from 30 to 75 Euro per day depending on the category. Week tickets are available for 290 and 326 Euro. Schoolchildren and students will be given a 50% reduction upon showing an ID.
The Porsche Tennis Grand Prix has especially attractive offers for Ladies Day (Monday, 2 October) and Family Day (Tuesday, 3 October). Reduced price tickets for these days are only available on the day.
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