Indian Wells, a green luxury oasis in the Californian desert, this week marks the start of the countdown to the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix for the world’s best women players. Angelique Kerber will also be contesting the BPN Paribas Open in Indian Wells Tennis Garden, a two-hour car drive from Los Angeles. “Indian Wells is the first big tournament in the year in USA and one that I love coming to,” said the Porsche Brand Ambassador and recently-crowned Australian Open winner. “My schedule also takes in the tournament in Miami and then I’ll hopefully carry my good form over so that I can successfully defend my title in Stuttgart. Taking home the 718 Boxster S winner’s prize would be rather nice.”
Angelique Kerber is the first German Grand Slam winner at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. Currently the world No. 2, she heads the WTA’s sign-up list. She is the title-holder and one of eight top 10 players due to appear in the Porsche Arena from 16 to 24 April. Obviously Angelique Kerber would just love to drive the sports car on Centre Court in the Porsche Arena after the final. However, she will be up against stiff opposition as the 39th edition of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix – under the motto “Perfect Match” – has once again attracted the stars to Stuttgart. In addition to Porsche Team Germany’s No.1, seven other players ranked in the top 10 will also be competing: Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland), winner of the 2015 WTA Finals, Simona Halep (Romania), Garbine Muguruza (Spain), Carla Suarez Navarro (Spain), the multiple Fed Cup winner Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic), Roberta Vinci (Italy) and the Swiss shooting star Belinda Bencic.
“Our main draw field once again contains the crème de la crème,” said Tournament Director Markus Günthardt. “Particularly pleasing is the fact that we can present our spectators with a German Grand Slam winner for the first time in the Porsche Arena in Angelique Kerber. It’s always been a wish of ours.”
One player to have always thrilled many fans in Stuttgart is Ana Ivanovic from Serbia. Unforgotten is her appearance in the 2014 final when she and Maria Sharapova served up one of the best and most exciting finals in the history of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. At the end she was given a standing ovation lasting minutes on end. A top 20 player, she will be joined in the Porsche Arena by Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic) and Lucie Safarova, who won the Fed Cup in 2014 and 2015 with the Czech Republic. Also competing will be Sara Errani (Italy), who, together with Roberta Vinci, is a five-time doubles Grand Slam winner and the winner of the 2014 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix doubles title.
The extent of the status the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix enjoys amongst WTA Tour players is demonstrated by the fact that they voted it their favourite tournament in its category in 2015 – for the seventh time since 2007.
In addition to Angelique Kerber, other players belonging to Porsche Team Germany are also looking forward to appearing in front of their fans in the Porsche Arena. Also entered are Andrea Petkovic, Sabine Lisicki, Annika Beck, Mona Barthel and Julia Görges, the surprise 2011 winner. The Porsche Tennis Grand Prix is also a season highlight for the up-and-coming youngsters supported within the Porsche Talent Team Germany set-up. Anna-Lena Friedsam is sure to have the best chance of securing a main draw berth via qualifying. The current German champion recently reached the last 16 at a Grand Slam for the first time in her career at the Australian Open and is currently on the threshold of breaking into the world top 50.
“At the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, the circle closes for our talented youngsters,” said Barbara Rittner, the Porsche Team Germany captain. “They can gain vital experience and learn from the world’s top players.”
On the opening day of the tournament proper, the ladies will play host to two men – and tennis history will come alive in the Porsche Arena. Germany’s Michael Stich and the American Michael Chang will serve up the traditional and eagerly-awaited Berenberg Classics Duel of Legends – held in conjunction Porsche Tennis Grand Prix – on April 18. Michael Stich is the last German Wimbledon men’s champion (1991 in singles, 1992 in doubles with John McEnroe). Michael Chang wrote tennis history when he claimed the 1989 French Open as 17-year old “unknown”.
The tournament organisers are also turning to world class performers in the attractive supporting programme of events. One of the highlights are the performances by the famous Stuttgart Ballet on the Centre Court in the Porsche Arena – on Monday, April 18 and on finals day on Sunday, April 24. With such attractions and a wide range of sport and entertainment, the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix should, according to Markus Günthardt, “this year once again become an event for the whole family.”
Tickets for the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix and the Berenberg Classics can be booked on the phone (+49 711 / 2 555 555) or via the internet at www.easyticket.de.
718 Boxster S: Combined fuel consumption 8.1 – 7.3 l/100 km; CO2 emissions 184 – 167 g/km