After an unsuccessful attempt to combine the Gstaad women’s tennis tournament with the men’s tournament, the organiser, Grand Chelem Event SA, has decided to move the women’s event from Gstaad to Lausanne.
The original intention was to combine forces, make both tournaments more profitable, save on resources and offer an appealing yet diverse selection of players. This is how the Grand Chelem Event SA presented the idea of a combined tournament. They’re the owner of women’s tournament rights and organiser of both tennis tournaments in Gstaad. Combining the two tournaments in Gstaad would have made the location particularly exclusive in the tennis world. Apart from the Grand Slam tournaments, the WTA and ATP tours have very few events where women and men play at the same time and in the same place. However, the ATP Player’s Council opposed the merger of the two tournaments in Gstaad.
All over after three seasons
The women’s tournament was re-launched in 2016 but women’s tennis has been a regular feature in Gstaad since 1983. However, spectator numbers failed to grow as much as the organiser had hoped. A combined tournament would have been a way of counteracting this downward spiral in audience numbers. The downturn was a signal to think hard about the overarching changes to the women’s tennis tournament in the Saanenland and avoid the negative economic impact. Even the sale of the tournament rights was up for debate.
Finally, the decision was made to relocate the tournament to Lausanne. The tournament rights remain with the Grand Chelem Event SA and organisers of the large, prestigious Lausanne Tennis Club are providing support for putting on the women’s tournament. The WTA sent a team out to Lausanne to check on the set-up and logistics and gave the nod to relocate the women’s tennis tournament from Gstaad to Lausanne.
The men's tournament stays
After the decision to relocate the women’s tournament, there was a question mark over whether the men’s event would remain in the Saanenland. However, Grand Chelem Event SA confirmed they will now refocus on the men’s tournament in Gstaad and make the most of the event.
Justine Hewson / AvS