Star-strudded line-up: Rafael Nadal enters the lion’s den
Clash of the titans: Federer vs Nadal in Switzerland
You have to keep moving forward to avoid being overtaken by the pace of change. It is with this in mind that this year’s Swiss Indoors Basel will combine the best in the world with the stars of tomorrow. For the first time in the history of Switzerland’s leading tournament, the 44th Swiss Indoors Basel will see record-breaking champion Roger Federer (ATP 2) challenged by superstar Rafael Nadal (ATP 5), in what could be described as a clash of the titans in the lion’s den.
Nadal’s impressive comeback
It was exactly ten years ago that Spain’s Rafael Nadal Parera made his debut at the Swiss Indoors as a 17-year-old. This talented teenager with curly dark hair had been spotted early on, but in 2003 he lost to the German Rainer Schüttler in the first round, and a year later lost again to his fellow Spaniard Feliciano Lopez. Now the 11-time Grand Slam winner and former world number 1 is returning to Switzerland, to the delight of all tennis fans. Nadal has experienced changing fortunes recently. A knee injury meant over six months on the sidelines in the latter part of 2012. Then in Argentina, Chile and Mexico on clay and later on a hard court at Indian Wells (where he won the title), the superstar was back to full fitness, making a sensational comeback. In the final at Monte Carlo, Nadal suffered what was only his second defeat this year.
Federer: respectful, but not afraid
In recent years, record-holder Roger Federer has come up against the toughest of opposition several times in Basel, including Novak Djokovic, the current world number 1. Federer has still managed to increase his tally of titles at the Swiss Indoors to an all-time record five. The Swiss Indoors had been in close contact with this major record-holder’s agent for months until, in mid-April, Federer himself officially announced his return to Basel. It has not yet been decided when Federer will play his first match. That depends largely on whether he plays in another tournament the week before Basel.
Number 1 position to be hotly disputed in Basel
In the run-up to the ATP World Tour Finals in London, Basel will also play an important role in the fierce struggle to become world number 1. Because Nadal has no ranking points to defend since Wimbledon last year, he can score highly and will most likely move up from his ATP ranking of 5. Before this exciting battle of the giants, it is not yet clear who will start as the top seed at the St. Jakobshalle: Federer or Nadal, or someone else entirely?
Vamos, Juan Martin Del Potro!
Among the contenders for the number 1 position in Basel, no-one should overlook the current incumbent. In this case, his name is Juan Martin Del Potro (ATP 7). As is traditional at the third-largest indoor tournament in the world, last year’s champion is returning to the scene of his victory. This South American Goliath has firmly established himself among the world’s elite, playing outstandingly well on all surfaces. With these three superstars, there will be top-level matches well before the final. Each of the trio of Nadal, Federer and Del Potro has already won majors.
Milos Raonic, a cannonball serve to make the ground shake
Older tennis fans of the Swiss Indoors will remember the American Chip Hooper. One October, this dark-skinned athlete in his red outfit delivered serves literally like a cannonball. Now a rising star and new big-serving champion in world tennis is coming to Switzerland for the first time: Milos Raonic (ATP 13), a Canadian of Montenegrin origin. He is only 22 years old, and his trajectory is going in one direction only – upwards. Indoors on the blue GreenSet surface, the effect of his serves, which fly by the dozen at 220 km/h, will be stunning. Even on the “slow” clay in Monte Carlo, his opponents had reason to fear Raonic’s service, especially as the hard-hitter also has an excellent feel for the ball.
Look out for Kei Nishikori
This year, one of the former young wild things is returning to Basel: Kei Nishikori (ATP 15), Japan’s “rising sun” in world tennis. This young Asian astonished spectators in 2011, when, as an unseeded player, he ended up in the final in Basel, and only the maestro Federer could stop him. Last year he had to drop out because of a serious stomach muscle injury. Just 23 years old, Nishikori is another building block in the future of the Basel tournament.
Stanislas Wawrinka on the up
The form of Stanislas Wawrinka (ATP 16) from the Swiss canton of Vaud is on an upward curve, as shown by his outstanding performance in Monte Carlo, where he beat Scotland’s Andy Murray (ATP 3). This summer, the Davis Cup player is trying his luck with the Swede Magnus Norman, the former world number 2, as his new coach. In the light of this, Wawrinka has set himself particularly tough goals for 2013 and will be entering the St. Jakobshalle with big ambitions.
Basel’s jewels glitter on the world’s TV screens
Europe, South America, Canada, Asia: the home countries of the tennis stars in Basel match the extent of the TV coverage for Switzerland’s leading sporting event. As a Premier tournament on the ATP World Tour 500, Basel is part of the exclusive TV World Pool for the ATP Tour and last year came second in this category after Dubai. The independent London agency SMG Insight recorded 2,609 hours of TV coverage on all continents for the Swiss Indoors in 2012, either live, with a time lag or as part of a highlights package. The TV signal for global distribution is produced by the SRF as the official broadcaster.
5 per cent more prize money, extended training facilities
The Player Commitment (including taxes and pension fund contributions for the players) now stands at EUR 1.988 million, an increase of 5 per cent on last year. This increase was agreed by the management of the ATP World Tour. This year once again, the Swiss Indoors is investing in infrastructure. At its headquarters in Allschwil, the Paradies sports centre is to be equipped with three more GreenSet courts for world-class tennis. This means that the Swiss Indoors can now offer five training courts on the same surface as will later be used for the ATP World Tour Finals in London.
Advance booking now open
The Center Court at the St. Jakobshalle Basel seats 9,000 people. Over the past ten years or so, more than 70,000 spectators have attended these tennis championships. The entry prices remain unchanged from last year. It is recommended that tickets are purchased in advance. The Finals weekend is already sold out.
Ticket Hotline: Tel. +41 (0)900 552 225 (CHF 1.19/min., landline rate)
Tickets online, Internet: www.swissindoorsbasel.ch
Boxes, Member cards, VIP packages: Tel. +41 (0)61 485 95 94