Antwerp, the 17th of August 2020 – We are pleased to announce that the fifth edition of the European Open is happening. From the 18th until the 25th of October, the Lotto Arena in Antwerp will once again be the hotspot of top tennis in Belgium. Because there are few tennis tournaments being organized in 2020, we are convinced that this will strengthen the image of Flanders on the (tennis) world map.
After many months of planning and waiting for the confirmation of the ATP calendar, it is now official: the fifth edition of the European Open continues. The tournament is ready to receive national and international (top) players. Remember last year’s grand finale between winner Andy Murray and finalist Stanislas Wawrinka.
Crucial in the decision to have the tournament take place in these uncertain times was the recognition and support of the Flemish Government. The European Open in Antwerp is recognized as a Flemish Top event which ensures the next three editions. In addition, we can also continue to count on the support of our loyal partners: City of Antwerp, Port of Antwerp, PSA and Emirates. The ATP and the players also put in a lot of effort to make sure the tournament can continue.
Tournament director Dick Norman says: “There were several reasons why we decided on the tournament this year, but a major reason was to send a hopeful signal, a boost, to give to the events sector. We also want to encourage the public to keep exercising. Tennis is the third largest sport in Flanders and seeing tennis can motivate to exercise. Studies have shown that sports are and will remain important, also to be more resilient against the COVID-19 virus.”
“We are proud that Antwerp will remain on the ATP calendar among all those major world cities. Through the scarcity of tournaments, there will be worldwide media attention for our country. We are convinced that we will (again) be able to welcome a lot of top players in Antwerp, partly because of the cancellation of the Chinese tournaments, the fact that we are the only tournament in Europe that week and the eagerness for competition from many players. Players can start to plan their tournament schedule from today on.”
“We hope this will support all our suppliers and employees to continue working in these difficult times.”
“With about 158,000 members, tennis is one of the most widely supported sports disciplines in Flanders,” says Flemish Minister of Sport Ben Weyts. “The Flemish Government has recognized the European Open as Flemish top event and can count on an annual financial support of € 250,000. That support provides the tournament, with a very attractive international field of participants, security for the next three editions. Until 2022, Antwerp will certainly be hosting the best of international men’s tennis.”
WILDCARD FOR THE TWO HIGHEST RANKED BELGIANS. SANDER GILLÉ AND JORAN VLIEGEN WILL BE THERE
The European Open is very important for our Belgian top players, who have been inactive for a long time, to participate in a tournament in their own country. The two highest ranked Belgian players, currently Kimmer Coppejans and Ruben Bemelmans, will get a wildcard. The highest ranked player on the entry list date (this year’s announcement one month before the start of the tournament) will receive the wildcard for the main table. The second highest player will receive a wildcard for the qualifications.
Sander Gillé and Joran Vliegen, our best doubles duo, are also happy to be able to perform in their own country.
In recent months, the organization has worked very hard to be able to organize a COVID-proof edition and is in constant close consultation with ATP, the Flemish government, the Lotto Arena and the City Antwerp. A full COVID-19 protocol has been developed to keep the tournament in safe conditions to be able to proceed. We also follow very strict requirements of the ATP. Whether there will be an audience is currently still unsure, but the capacity of the Lotto Arena is large enough to welcome a limited audience in safe conditions.
Our hospitality will also be COVID-proof and comply with all catering measures that are in effect at that time.
Due to the uncertain circumstances, we will not start ticket sales until the end of September when there is more certainty about how many spectators will be allowed in the Lotto Arena.