Gaël Monfils, the French showman who reached the fourth round at Wimbledon, has confirmed his participation at the European Open. Last year, Monfils couldn’t make it due to an injury, but the 31-year-old Frenchman will be present this season.
Monfils has been a certainty in the top 50 of men’s tennis for years. In 2016 he was even ranked sixth. Furthermore, he is loved on tour for his showy tennis. Diving, tweeners, trick shots, … he can do it all, and he will bring it to Antwerp next October.
Monfils, who will be playing in Belgium for the first time, is very excited. “It’s always great to come back to Europe after a long trip to Asia. I hope I can add the European Open to my tally.”
As such, Monfils will join David Goffin in the Belgian’s home tournament, where they can potentially meet again after their memorable last encounter during this year’s Roland Garros. There, Goffin won a nerve-wracking match in five sets.
A new tournament management, a renewed approach, an attractive list of participants, reduced ticket prices and an increasing importance for Belgian tennis: these numerous ingredients are more than ever necessary to ensure that the European Open continues to put our country on the tennis map.
David Goffin looking forward to winning in his own country
“We are going from a top tennis competition to a top sports event where we will now focus on the experience”, tournament owner and CEO of Tennium Kristoff Puelinckx stated. “For those who still doubted: the European Open is here to stay!” The arrival of Dick Norman as a new tournament director at the end of March was for Tennium, the organizer of the biggest tennis tournament in Belgium, a first step to make this edition of the European Open the best edition ever, with many new strategic choices. Now that Belgian star David Goffin confirms his arrival, fans can expect an edition full of entertainment and top tennis.
European Open on tour
A striking novelty this year is that the European Open itself is going to the Belgian tennis public. For example, from June to September, Tennium organizes a roadshow of promotional visits to more than two hundred tennis clubs. Together with some ambassadors, including Appelmans, there are about twenty European Open Club Days in the pipeline: clinics for Belgian clubs with Norman and Appelmans and/or some Belgian players.
“I am pleased that I can once again contribute to the European Open”, says Appelmans. “This prestigious tournament is invaluable for tennis in our country and going to promote it in the clubs is something I am already looking forward to.”
Open to national stars
At least as surprising is the news that from now on national top players will also have a chance to appear in the main draw of the European Open. The winner of the Belgian Circuit Masters (the eight best players of the Belgian Circuit ranking will play against each other on October 6 and 7) will play the new European Open prequalification tournament on October 12th. In this tournament the winner can compete with the two best Belgian ATP players, who are not selected for the main draw or qualifications of the European Open, and another Belgian player who receives a wildcard from the organization. Who knows, in that way, he will make his way to the main draw of the European Open. By organizing this, the European Open wants to fill the hole that the ATP Challenger of Mons left behind.
“The European Open is the only ATP event in Belgium and with its organization we want to put tennis back on the map in Belgium”, Norman says. “Not only do we involve many tennis clubs this year, but because of the collaboration with the federations and the Belgian Circuit, we also become a platform for Belgian talent to compete with the stars and show themselves to a large audience.”
Attractive field of participants
Meanwhile, a nice name can be seen on the players list. Former Sportsman of the Year David Goffin (ATP-10) has already confirmed his arrival and he’s already motivated to perform in Antwerp: “I really look forward to the European Open. Who doesn’t dream of winning in their own country for the most loyal fans in the stands? This year I will try everything I can to make a place in the final and… to win the title.”
Attractive ticket prices
In addition to the new approach to the tournament and its promotion, ticket prices are also more attractive than ever. “For thirty euros you already have a ticket for the final”, according to event director Ilse Van Parys. “We have lowered the ticket prices so that our tournament is really attractive and accessible to everyone, there are more ticket categories, the ticket prices for the semi-finals and the final are aligned, and with the European Open Membership of 130 euros and the Weekend Pack of 120 euro (and only 99 euro for the early birds) we have two very affordable packages for those who want to experience the tournament in the best possible way.”
Entertainment for everyone
A real experience, with more entertainment for the fans besides the tennis matches: that is what the European Open 2018 should be. On Monday 15 October there will be a Senior Day, on Wednesday a Kids Day will be on the program, on Thursday a Ladies Day and the weekend will be held on Friday 19 October with a bright party. For the VIPs a networking evening with live entertainment is planned for Thursday evening 18 October, a VIP Star Night including meeting with players on Friday 19 October, a VIP Party with Coco Jr and Sandrine on Saturday, October 20, and of course a vip lunch on the final day.
If you list everything, you can not deny the importance and the image of the European Open. That fact doesn’t escape the host city of the tournament. Alderman of Sport Ludo Van Campenhout: “We have been able to enjoy top tennis in Antwerp again with the European Open since 2016. The athletes are true role models for others, so that we make everyone aware of the importance of a healthy lifestyle and encourage our citizens and visitors to more sports and exercise. ”
Also Mayor Bart De Wever is very pleased with the choice for his city: “Initiatives such as the European Open put Antwerp even more firmly on the map as the sporting capital of Flanders, sparkling our city and strengthening the Olympic tradition of Antwerp.”
In general: October promises to be a nice tennis month for both Antwerp and our country.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is the winner of the European Open 2017. In the final, the Frenchman was too strong for Diego Schwartzman, beating him 6-3, 7-5 . The duo of Scott Lipsky / Divij Sharan won the doubles earlier in the day.
Tsonga started the final very impressively. With a 3-2 lead he went through Schwartzman’s service. That break was enough to take the first set. The Frenchman played a very solid game based on his exceptionally strong serve. Tsonga continued to dominate at the start of set two and quickly took a lead of 2-0. Schwartzman, who was playing his second final in a row at the European Open then made a comeback. The Argentine won 3 games in a row and even had 2 breakpoints at 4-2. It was a cue for Tsonga to hit two aces and produce some fantastic tennis to take away Schwartzman’s opportunity to break. Then Tsonga broke Schwartzman, but once again Schwartzman showed his great warrior heart and broke Tsonga.
At 5-5, Tsonga went up a gear and Schwartzman’s number of errors became too large. The Argentine lost his service game one more time and then Tsonga served for the match and was victorious at the European Open.
Diego Schwartzman and the European Open appear to be a successful marriage. For the second consecutive year, Argentina is in a position to win the final. In the final (16.15hrs), Jo-Wilfried Tsonga awaits.
Diego Schwartzman finished the second half of the day playing Stefanos Tsitsipas who was a bit too strong for home player David Goffin in the quarterfinals. After a straight 6-3 in the first set, the spectators in the Lotto Arena got to see numerous exciting rallies and high-end tennis in set 2. Only at 5-5 did Schwarzman distance himself from the 19-year-old Greek. For Tsitsipas this was an end to a great week, for Schwartzman it will be his second final in a row at the European Open. Last year he succumbed to Richard Gasquet in the final. Like last year, another Frenchman awaits, this time it is Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Tsonga won 6-3 6-3 against Ruben Bemelmans, earlier today.
Second seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who is bidding to capture his 16th ATP World Tour title this week, moved into his eighth quarter-final (or better) this year by beating fellow Frenchman and qualifier Kenny De Schepper 6-4, 6-3 in 88 minutes at the European Open.
Tsonga, who is 30-13 on the season, will next face another compatriot, 35-year-old Julien Benneteau. Tsonga has already lifted silverware in 2017 at the ABM AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam (d. Goffin), the Open 13 in Marseille (d. Pouille) and the Open Parc Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Lyon in Lyon (d. Berdych).
David Goffin maintained his good form, also advancing to the quarter-finals with a 7-6(1), 6-2 win against #NextGenATP Frances Tiafoe. The Belgian, who won back-to-back titles at the Shenzhen Open and the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships 2017, is in the No. 8 slot in the Emirates ATP Race To London with 2,750 points. He seeks his second appearance at The O2 in London after appearing last year as an alternate, playing Novak Djokovic.
Goffin was broken in just his second service game of the match, but managed to retrieve it immediately. He then staved off four Tiafoe break opportunities later in the set before surging to a 6/0 lead in the tie-break, an advantage he did not relinquish. The 26 year old lost just three points on serve in the second set, winning double the number of points.
The Belgian stalled Tiafoe’s bid in the Emirates ATP Race To Milan. The American is No. 9 in the race with 662 points, currently 110 points behind Daniil Medvedev, who won on Thursday in Moscow to jump into seventh, the final automatic qualifying spot.
One player who also bolstered his chances in the same Race in Antwerp was Goffin’s next opponent, #NextGenATP and Greek qualifier Stefanos Tsitsipas, who booked a spot in his first ATP World Tour quarter-final on Thursday when leading Ivo Karlovic of Croatia 7-6(4), 5-6. Karlovic retired after injuring his left ankle while serving.
Fourth seed and last year’s finalist Diego Schwartzman needed one hour and 41 minutes to beat #NextGenATP American Ernesto Escobedo 6-3, 7-6(5) for a place in the quarter-finals against fifth-seeded Spaniard David Ferrer, who beat Steve Darcis, 7-5, 5-7, 6-3.
Fifth seed David Ferrer fought for more than two hours and 20 minutes on Tuesday to advance at the European Open.
The Spaniard beat 25-year-old Italian Stefano Travaglia 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(3) to move into the second round in Antwerp. Ferrer, a titlist in Bastad earlier this year, will next face German Cedrik-Marcel Stebe or Belgian Steve Darcis.
#NextGenATP American Frances Tiafoe bolstered his chances of reaching the inaugural Next Gen ATP Finals next month in Milan by beating German Florian Mayer 6-3, 6-4. Tiafoe won 47 per cent (28/60) of his return points in the 58-minute victory.
The 19 year old is currently in 10th place in the Emirates ATP Race To Milan. The top seven in the Race will qualify for the eight-player tournament, to be held 7-11 November. The eighth spot is reserved for the winner of an Italian 21-and-under tournament.
Tiafoe has 662 Race points, 98 behind seventh-placed Hyeon Chung of South Korea. Tiafoe faces top seed David Goffin in the second round. The right-hander held two match points against Goffin in their only prior FedEx Head2Head meeting before losing at 2016 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
Two other #NextGenATP players with their hopes set on Milan also advanced in Antwerp. American Ernesto Escobedo, who reached the semi-finals earlier this year in Houston, beat Canada’s Denis Shapovalov in a #NextGenATP battle, 7-6(5), 6-4.
#NextGenATP Greek Stefano Tsitsipas upset sixth seed Pablo Cuevas 6-1, 6-4. Cuevas has now lost nine consecutive matches.
Both Escobedo and Tsitsipas still could qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals. Escobedo is in 11th place with 497 points, 263 behind seventh-placed Chung. Tsitsipas sits in 13th place with 477 points, 283 behind Chung.
Escobedo next faces fourth seed Diego Schwartzman of Argentina. Tsitsipas will meet Croatian Ivo Karlovic.
On Monday morning, more than a month before the final of the Davis Cup between France and Belgium, both countries faced off in battle … on the water! Team Belgium convincingly won the European Open Pedalo Cup in the docks of the Port of Antwerp.
All the major Belgian names and a few of France’s best players in the main draw of the European Open, the only ATP World Tour tournament in Belgium, is a taste of what is to come next month: Belgium-France. Before the battle on the tennis court in the Lotto Arena begins, a smaller battle took place on the water on Monday morning on the docks of the iconic Antwerp Port House. In a pedalo competition, David Goffin and Steve Darcis won against Benoit Paire and Sébastien Grosjean, former number 4 in the world and winner of the Davis Cup in 2001.
The Australian Nick Kyrgios acted as chief umpire of the pedalo contest and saw Team Belgium take a flying start. Team France had some difficulty in navigating and could not make up for the lost time. And so David Goffin and Steve Darcis were the clear winners of the European Open Pedalo Cup! Afterwards, the protagonists could analyze their performance at a press conference in the Port’s panorama hall, and chat about the upcoming week of tennis.
“Let’s be honest, the opposition today was not that strong,” said Steve Darcis with a wink. “Our boat was sabotaged,” replied Benoit Paire. “In the Davis Cup, it may be a bit more exciting,” continued Darcis. “I had a great time on the water, it was a great idea!”. David Goffin also found the European Open Pedalo Cup pure fun. “I don’t know if the French will have recovered from this heavy effort next month. The physical and psychological benefit in the Davis Cup is for us,” joked Goffin.
GOFFIN: ‘CONFIDENTIAL BOARD’
After this little outing the conversation got more serious and focused on tennis. Goffin has been back on home turf for three days after a successful Asian tour with tournament wins in Shenzhen and Tokyo. “I’m happy to be in Belgium again. I feel good and have a few more days to recover from the time difference. Also, I won’t yet think about my first match on Thursday, though I’m full of confidence. I am considered the favorite, but I don’t think I am.”
Steve Darcis had to fight against Nick Kyrgios a few weeks ago in Beijing with a neck injury. “The injury is a thing of the past, I’m 100 percent ready for the European Open,” said the player from Liège, who plays his first match on Wednesday night. “I hope there will be a lot of people watching. In a room full of Belgian fans, I can always do something more”, Darcis mentioned, referring to his nickname ‘Mister Davis Cup’.
One month ago, Nick Kyrgios lost in Brussels with the Australian team in the semi-finals of the Davis Cup. “I didn’t think I’d be back in Belgium so soon, but I’m glad I’m here. The European Open has a strong group of players, and I’m going to play doubles together with my mate Matt Reid.”
The European Open, which will take place from 15 to 22 October in the Lotto Arena in Antwerp, reveals today the 22 players in the main draw. New international spearheads on the entry list are, among others, Pablo Cuevas, Diego Schwartzman, Kyle Edmund, Alexandr Dolgopolov and Canadian shooting star Denis Shapovalov. Besides David Goffin and Steve Darcis, Belgium’s only ATP World Tour competition can now welcome another two Belgians in Ruben Bemelmans and Zizou Bergs.
It has been established for months that David Goffin, Steve Darcis, Gaël Monfils, David Ferrer and defending champion Richard Gasquet will come to the European Open 2017. Moreover, Monfils was able to reassure the organisation after throwing in the towel at the US Open: the injury he sustained will not prevent him from being ready in Antwerp in more than a month’s time.
The entry list for the main draw was closed yesterday evening and so today a range of new, interesting names will be added to players list. The Argentinian Diego Schwartzman, last year’s runner-up and currently quarter finalist at the US Open, will also be present. The same goes for the Brit Kyle Edmund, who was defeated by Richard Gasquet in last year’s semi-finals.
With the previously announced David Ferrer and now also Alexandr Dolgopolov and Pablo Cuevas, we will be welcoming three players in Antwerp who have already won an ATP title this year. Ivo Karlovic and Benoît Paire are another two experienced players.
The European Open will also be welcoming three “coming men” who are on their way to the Next Gen ATP Finals in Milan. This new final round for players under 21 was introduced by the ATP this year. Denis Shapovalov is now sixth in the ATP Race to Milan. The 18 year-old Canadian is even being tipped as a future grand slam champion. In 2016, Shapovalov won the junior title at Wimbledon, and a few weeks ago he has beaten Rafael Nadal in Montreal. The Americans Jared Donaldson and Ernesto Escobedo, numbers 4 and 10 respectively on the #NextGen ranking, are coming to Antwerp as well.
Two Belgians are also being added to this great mixture of experienced tennis stars and #NextGen players. Ruben Bemelmans gets a wild card for the main table of the singles. Zizou Bergs, the 18 year-old talent from Limburg, will be performing in the singles competition qualifications. The other two wild cards for the main draw will only be awarded right before the start of the tournament. This will give a few more top players who want to collect points for the ATP Finals the chance to do just that in Antwerp.
The second edition of the European Open will take place from 15th to 22nd October 2017 in the Lotto Arena in Antwerp. The European Open is part of the ATP World Tour 250 Series and is the largest and only tennis tournament of this level in Belgium.
Like last year, the European Open will bring together several of the best players in the world and Belgium. There is a singles as well as a doubles tournament. The winner of last year, Frenchman Richard Gasquet, will return in October to defend his title. One of his biggest competitors will be David Goffin, the Belgian number one and current number 10 in the world! Another public favourite who cannot be ignored is ‘Mister Davis Cup’ Steve Darcis.
For the Belgian tennis fan, the European Open is the perfect opportunity to watch top international and Belgian players at work. For the people of Antwerp, it is another great opportunity to watch world class tennis close to home. For corporate clients the European Open is the perfect occasion to network while watching some great tennis.
Richard Gasquet captured the title at the European Open on Sunday, fighting past Diego Schwartzman 7-6(4), 6-1.
Gasquet notched his 14th ATP World Tour title and second of the year, having previously lifted the trophy in Montpellier in February. He needed one hour and 29 minutes to emerge victorious, saving one of two break points faced, while converting three of six of his own. The Frenchman was ruthless on his first serve, claiming 29 of 33 (88 per cent) of such points.
Both players looked to blast through the indoor hard court at the Lotto Arena, unloading from the back of the court. Two scintillating backhand winners by Schwartzman punctuated the start of the match, as the Argentine sought to carry the momentum after saving two match points over top seed David Goffin in Saturday’s semis.
Schwartzman may be short in stature, but his diminutive height is not proportional to his heart. After falling behind an early break, the 24 year old dug in his heels when staring down three set points at 5-4 40/0. He would save them all, reeling off seven consecutive points to break back and consolidate for 6-5. Schwartzman would force a tie-break, where Gasquet’s would not be denied a second opportunity to close out the opener.
“It was a tough match, especially in the first set when I leading 5-4 40/0 on my serve,” said Gasquet. “It was important for me to win the tie-break and I took a lot of confidence into the second set. It was a great match for me and I was the favourite to win, so it’s important for me.
“I’m very happy with the week. All the matches were tough and there were a lot of great players here. It’s always nice to have a title.”
As the match wore on, the Frenchman’s experience proved to be a critical factor. Gasquet launched his one-handed backhand with a bevy of topspin to drive the Argentine behind the baseline, and he would drop just one game in the second set to pull away for the title.
Schwartzman was bidding for his second ATP World Tour title in his second final. He captured his maiden title on the clay of Istanbul (d. Dimitrov) earlier this year. The Argentine enjoyed a successful week in Antwerp, having stunned top seed David Goffin in Saturday’s semi-finals, saving two match points.