This is something that I've been thinking about the past few days:
The situation for some of the ATP tournaments in Germany have definitely taken a turn for the worse the past few years.
Take, for instance, last week's stop in Stuttgart, which was won by Jeremy Chardy. Three top 20 players showed up, which isn't bad for an ATP 250 tournament. But did you know this used to be the fifth-biggest clay-court event on tour, after the French and the three Masters stops? Rafael Nadal, Thomas Muster and Gustavo Kuerten, three of the greatest clay-courters ever, all have titles there, as do Andre Agassi and Alex Corretja. Now it looks like the tournament will no longer be able to attract players of that caliber, to say the least.
And how about this week's event in Hamburg? What was once the fourth-largest clay stop and one of the game's oldest tournaments lost its elite status. You're two-most recent champions there happen to be only a couple of guys named Nadal and Roger Federer. Top seed there this week? Gilles Simon, who promptly lost today. It's actually such a bad thing going on at this tournament that at least from the stories I've read, event director and 1991 Wimbledon champ Michael Stich is playing doubles to help ticket sales. Talk about an event falling on hard times!
I don't know if it's just the overall state of the economy around the world or the German tennis foundation not getting behind the tournaments enough promotion-wise or what. All I do know is that it's an extremely sad sight to see events with such a rich history be reduced nearly to insignificance.
5 months ago