It has now been 24 years without tennis in a city that once cheered many of the greatest champions in the world between 1980 and 1991. Almost a quarter of a century without tennis in the second-city of a country that has won 24 Grand Slam titles since 1997 by Martina Hingis, Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka. The idea of organizing a new Geneva Open tennis tournament sounded like a brilliant idea!
Ion Tiriac and Rainer Schüttler in particular are two people that understood and greatly contributed towards making the idea a reality. Schüttler, the promoter of the Madrid Masters 1000 and former German champion knew Geneva would be ideal when it came to "transferring" the tournament from Düsseldorf to another city in the fall of 2013. In Geneva, they found city officials willing to engage fully with them and, of course, the beautiful green surroundings of the TC Geneva Eaux-Vives Park. It is extremely rare to find such a majestic and pristine site for an ATP tournament.
Ion Tiriac and Rainer Schüttler were up against a major challenge: how to convince a great player to invest his credibility in promoting this new tournament to the public. Stan Wawrinka responded enthusiastically to the invitation and quickly accepted the role of ambassador of the event. Although he lost in the quarter-finals of the first edition of the Geneva Open last year, Stan grew fond of the tournament very quickly.
Next May, Wawrinka will step on to the clay courts of Parc des Eaux-Vives for the second edition of the Geneva Open as his final preparation to defend his first French Open title. His victory in Paris was a blessing to the Geneva Open; it dispelled the notion that you could not win a Grand Slam title if you had played in a tournament the previous week. But Stan Wawrinka arrived in Paris riding the momentum of his two matches played in Geneva on Tuesday and Thursday and ending up becoming champion.
Featuring Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic, the 2015 Geneva Open was honoured to include two of the last three winners of a Grand Slam tournament at the time. Despite this, it was ultimately Thomaz Bellucci who had the most luck and won the tournament. Having been crowned champion in Gstaad in 2009 and 2012, the Brazilian again played some of his best tennis in Switzerland. In Au Parc des Eaux-Vives, he picked up his fourth title of his career with wins over five players. Bellucci beat Marcos Baghdatis, Denis Istomin, Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Santiago Giraldo and Joao Sousa to win the first edition of the Geneva Open.
Though the title went to Thomaz, the public’s support was clearly for Joao Sousa. Sousa made quite a show at Parc des Eaux-Vives, including saving four match points during his quarterfinal match after being down 2-6 in the tiebreak of the deciding third set. Soon after Sousa’s Geneva success, he was a finalist in Umag and St. Petersburg and won an indoor tournament in Valencia to reach a career high ATP ranking of 33 in the world.