Elina Svitolina won this Tuesday against the Polish Magda Linette.
Who is Mauritius / Michel Grasso
The tennis tournament began on Sunday at the foot of the European Parliament.
With a much happier line-up than in previous years!
No less than two players of the World Top 10 are among the headliners, with the French Alizé Cornet for example.
Another good news in view of the period: the public is authorized, at a reduced level.
Despite all that, there are not many people and the organizers are afraid to complete this exceptional edition in deficit.
Steffi Graf, Lindsay Davenport, Jennifer Capriati… Since their launch in 1987, the Strasbourg Internationals (IS) have seen many beautiful people.
Well, much less since 2010 and the coronation of Maria Sharapova.
Until this year!
Since Monday, a player of the world top 10 has already tasted the clay installed at the foot of the European Parliament: Elina Svitolina (n ° 5).
The second entered, Kiki Bertens, will be entitled to it on Wednesday.
“At one point, we even found ourselves with four world top 10 who had confirmed their arrival, while we had not had one for ten years,” says Denis Naegelen.
The tournament director would almost forget the ultimate forfeits of Karolina Pliskova (n ° 4), Sofina Kenin (n ° 6), Viktoria Azarenka (n ° 14) and the first French in the WTA rankings, Kristina Mladenovic (n ° 44) .
"It's becoming a bit of an exceptional week"
It must also be said that these IS have come a long way.
“Since March, we were in doubt.
We didn't know if we could organize them or not, ”recalls the former tennis player, who therefore fought for not a cancellation, but a postponement.
Until knowing the dates of Roland-Garros and placing his appointment the week before, as always.
"The Masters 1000 in Rome also wanted to take this niche and I cannot yet understand how the WTA managed to shift it ..."
As a result, the Strasbourg tournament finds itself without a competitor on the players' calendar, unlike in recent years when it had to face Nuremberg.
“It's becoming a bit of an exceptional week,” smiles Denis Naegelen.
Especially since it will not be arguing behind closed doors, like the last US Open, for example.
The Strasbourg organizers have obtained from the authorities a tonnage reduced to 50% of its capacity.
Clearly, the Central, which could normally accommodate up to 3,200 people at the same time, will be limited to 1,600 spectators.
With compulsory wearing of the mask, except when consuming seated, and a compulsory gap seat between each group of 10 people maximum.
Stars but few audiences
So, happy the Alsatian public?
At the start of the week, that did not happen.
The stands were empty, as is often the case in recent editions.
“There weren't many people, it was a good transition between the US Open and Roland Garros,” Alizé Cornet even laughed at on Monday, the day after complaining of meeting too many people.
“The pandemic scares people, who go out less.
There are still many places but we know from experience that we sell 50% of the ticket office on site, not on the Internet, reassures Denis Naegelen.
Considering all the measures we have taken and our 68-page health protocol, people are safer in the IS than in the streets.
Opening of the doors of the 34th edition of the Strasbourg Internationals.
Welcome to all !
# IS20 #WTA pic.twitter.com/sMcR1xwNEg
- WTA Strasbourg (@WTA_Strasbourg) September 20, 2020
Even in the event of a sudden influx of public, the tournament with "three million euros of budget" should still buckle the edition in the red financially.
"We will be between -50,000 euros and +50,000 euros," anticipates its director, who has already obtained extensions from the Federation and local authorities.
“We have never been at a loss.
It is almost 300,000 euros less than our objective but that does not put the IS in danger.
”Not for a next edition where the plateau will perhaps be less flashy.
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