It’s been seven years since Belgian city of Antwerp last hosted a WTA event and now tournament director Kim Clijsters is making sure that we can already feel the great vibe of the upcoming BNP Paribas Fortis Diamond Games, as it offers strong player field, exhibition matches, comprehensive entertainment experience, and the most beautiful trophy tennis has to offer, a 4.5 kilograms of gold and 2008 diamonds that will go into the hands of a player who wins this tournament twice in three years.
And best of all, Women’s Tennis Blog’s photographer Jimmie48 (follow him on Twitter here) will arrive in Antwerp already tomorrow and bring us wonderful photos and updates from the spot!
The Premier-level tournament worth $731,000 will take place February 9th-15th in the Sports Palace and player list includes Eugenie Bouchard, Angelique Kerber, Dominika Cibulkova, Andrea Petkovic, Lucie Safarova, Carla Suarez Navarro, Alize Cornet, Karolina Pliskova, as well as home stars Kirsten Flipkens and Yanina Wickmayer.
What a beautiful place to play tennis at! #diamondgames #sportpaleis❤️ pic.twitter.com/4uQakVnxBq
— Kim Clijsters (@Clijsterskim) February 5, 2015
Helping Clijsters in the organization is creative director Elodie Ouedraogo, former Olympic medal winner in athletics, who is, in her own words “trying to build a bridge between high performance sports and the experience that goes with it”, and she added:
We will take care of the decoration of all the spaces, of sound and music and of things that people can participate in and experience. We want to surprise the spectators as much as we can. Every day will be a different day.
To support this approach, the tournament players’ party to be held on Monday will be open for 2,000 fans, who will have a chance to meet their tennis stars in the lounge of the Sports Palace. Women’s Tennis Blog’s photographer will probably be there as well! 😉 And even that’s not all! Every 100th ticket buyer receives a 10-carat diamond. Over 30,000 tickets have already been sold.
REMINDER: Amelie Mauresmo is a proud owner of the valuable diamond racquet, having won the tournament, then called the Proximus Diamond Games, for three consecutive years (2005, 2006 and 2007). At the time the condition was to win the event three times in five years and now they’ve apparently changed to two times in three years.
I’m wondering if Amelie has sold the trophy or she is keeping it in her living room. Better to have a good security system!
May the best player win, but I’m hoping Kerber could win this one.
Gregoire, I suppose she didn’t sell it. I mean, how could she sell something so beautiful that she earned through her hard work. But you’re right, it’s a tricky thing that everyone knows she has it. Remember what happened to Chakvetadze.
Jade, we’ll see. The draw has just been released.
Emman Damian, even though Clijsters is expressing how strong and good the player field is, the truth is that the list of top names should be longer. Although, prize money is good and it is a Premier-level event.
It is an enticing tournament. Maybe next year they’ll get more sponsors and more top players. I hope Ana Ivanovic returns to this tournament next year.
I agree. No Top 5 player in the field considering the alluring prices and ranking points. Well, let’s hope that next year will be a better one for the tournament.
Emman Damian, right, that’s how Bouchard got a chance to be the top seed for the first time at a Premier-level tournament.
Emman Damian, on Moo’s Tennis Blog I also picked Kerber to win, despite her R1 loss at the Australian Open. She won the Paris tournament in 2012, the one which has been replaced by Antwerp.
Genie has a chance to win this tournament but I think Kerber will shine in Antwerp. Any early predictions?
During this time, Kerber really plays well. Also, indoor hardcourts suits her game.
Emman Damian, we’ll see what will happen this time. I’m also interested in seeing how Bouchard will play as the biggest name in the draw.
Emman Damian, and I’ve just read at the WTA website how much Clijsters praised Genie:
“I played the legends in Paris and saw her working out in the gym, and she had so much determination and discipline – she stood out just with that, and add to that her great results. She’s just the total package for the tournament, the fans, the sponsors and everyone.”
Also to see Genie play with her newly hired coach. I think she really wants to win a slam this year.