TENNIS

No Berlin warm-up in women's 2009 clay season

The German Open women's event, traditionally considered the last warm-up before the French Open, will not be taking place this year after its owner, the Qatar Tennis Federation, decided to cancel the event.

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REUTERS - The German Open women's tournament in Berlin has been scrapped from the 2009 calendar, the WTA said on Wednesday.

 

"The tournament won't be on the 2009 calendar but the tournament being scrapped has nothing to do with the global credit crunch," a WTA spokeswoman said.
 

"The Qatar Tennis Federation, owner of the Berlin tournament membership, has made the decision that they no longer wish to operate the German Open in Berlin and to sell the membership back to the Tour."

 

The claycourt event usually takes place in May and has been one of the traditional warm-up tournaments for the French Open.
 

As a result of the cancellation, the WTA now has to plug a hole in the calendar in the week before the start of the season's second grand slam.

 

"Negotiations are on going to see if another tournament will fill in the gap left on the WTA calendar for the week beginning 18 May," the spokeswoman added.

 

Following the restructuring of the WTA schedule this year, the tournament had been classed as one of the tour's 'premier' events with a $600,000 prize fund.
 

"This is indeed a very sad fact. I have the confirmation by the WTA," Josef Minderjahn, President of the LTTC Rot-Weiss Berlin club hosting the tournament, told German sports news service SID.

 

"I am deeply disappointed. You can not go about it like that, without informing your contractual partner," he said. "This is a very strange way. I have asked the Qatari federation for a discussion."

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