2022 marks the first year of EFG’s new three-year partnership with the EFG Swiss Open Gstaad, one of the most historic tournaments on the men’s professional tennis circuit (ATP 250), and a highlight in the Swiss sporting calendar.
After months of planning and preparation, the EFG Swiss Open Gstaad starts on 17 July and concludes on 24 July. We took the opportunity to go behind the scenes in the build up to the event and ask Tournament Director Jean-François Collet for his thoughts on this year’s line-up, the exciting new partnership with EFG, and what the future holds.
The EFG Swiss Open Gstaad is one of the oldest tournaments in the world, how do you balance maintaining tradition with innovating for the future?
The Swiss Open Gstaad first began in back in 1915, 107 years ago. As Tournament Director, I have the weighty responsibility of ensuring we respect the historical values of the event while still allowing it to adapt and evolve within our society. We must therefore make sure we integrate the multitude of new technologies available to us, and yet protect the spirit of the tournament, so that it doesn’t lose that unique character and culture of tradition.
In your view, what makes a great tournament?
I think the unique environment plays a critical role. Gstaad is the only ATP tournament that is organised and held exclusively in a village setting. Having the chance to be able to create a tournament of this scale in such a magnificent region as the Saanenland, right in the heart of the main street of Gstaad, provides us with an incomparable backdrop and atmosphere. There is simply nothing else like it on the circuit.
The main stars of the show are obviously the competitors. It is therefore a great advantage to allow the public to see so many recognisable players, but it also gives them the chance to discover the future stars of world tennis. Notably, Dominic Thiem and Matteo Berrettini won their first titles in Gstaad and that success has definitely helped put them on the global stage.
You have a new title partner in EFG – what does that mean for the tournament?
The presence of a partner as prestigious as EFG is very important for our tournament. We are very proud to be able to collaborate with an institution that shares our values and commitment, and their investment allows us to continue to develop the event in a progressive way. EFG has an extensive portfolio of long-standing global partnerships in art, culture and sport, so we are fortunate in that we can benefit from the breadth and depth of their experience, and with their ongoing support continually seek to improve the quality and reach of our event.
The line-up for this year’s EFG SOG is exceptional and it lives up to the tournament’s motto of ‘where the champions of today meet the stars of tomorrow’. How important is it to balance top players with the next generation of emerging talent?
I have been Director of the EFG Swiss Open Gstaad for 16 years now and the 2022 player line-up is one of the strongest and most attractive I have seen in that time. The presence of Stan Wawrinka, three-time Grand Slam winner, Dominic Thiem, winner of the US Open 2020 and 17 singles titles, as well as Matteo Berrettini, Wimbledon 2021 finalist and winner of 7 singles titles, is fantastic for us. If we add to that Casper Ruud, finalist of the last Roland Garros and currently 5th in the world, as well as Roberto Bautista Agut, 20th in the world, this is why we consider our line-up in 2022 to be exceptional for an ATP 250 tournament.
Who are you most looking forward to seeing play this year?
I am particularly delighted to see the progress made by Dominic Stricker, the young Bernese player who is one of the most promising prospects in Swiss tennis at the moment. For him, it’s all about performing on a local stage and I’m sure it won’t be long before he is a headliner of the tournament. I also think the quality of the play offered by experienced French competitors Richard Gasquet, Benoît Paire and Hugo Gaston will make it worth the trip to Gstaad. The calibre of players in the 2022 line-up means there will be no shortage of inspiration for the next generation of up-and-coming talent, which lies at the heart of our tournament ethos, and is a really exciting prospect.
Where does the EFG Swiss Open Gstaad go from here? What does the future hold?
We are extremely positive about the future of our tournament. With EFG and the Municipality of Saanen on board for three years, we have great ambitions for the development of the EFG Swiss Open Gstaad. The implementation of a full infrastructure modernisation project is ongoing at the moment and this will allow us to offer an even better environment from which to welcome players, the media and of course, our spectators.
The EFG Swiss Open Gstaad runs from 17-24 July and we will bring you regular updates from the heart of the action. For further information on the full 2022 line-up, go to the EFG Swiss Open Gstaad website.