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The first biggest women’s clay court tennis tournament in France, right behind the Rolland Garros French Open, “Les Internationaux de Strasbourg” will take place at the Tennis Club de Strasbourg from the 17th to the 24th of May 2014.
Created in 1987, the tournament was originally called “The Strasbourg Grand Prix”. The very next year, the Alsatian Tennis League took up the reigns and gave it the current name, often shortened to its convenient abbreviation: IS. Every year since then, the tournament has attracted many of the world’s top players, poised to prove their worth. Today it is considered one of the most historic events in the WTA line-up.
Traditionally responsible for all major tennis tournaments in France, the French Tennis Federation (FFT) became the official owner of the IS in 2008. After making sure the event would remain in Strasbourg, the FFT decided to entrust the event’s management to a private firm, close to the tennis family, on certain conditions. Denis Naegelen, CEO of the Quarterback sports marketing agency, native to the Alsace region and former tennis pro immediately expressed an interest in handling the production, organization and promotion of this event and became the official owner of the WTA tournament.
In 2010, the first edition managed by Quarterback took place at the Alsatian Tennis League’s clay court facilities in Strasbourg’s western suburb known as “Hautepierre”. Traditionally held the week before the French Open, this event is a great clay court warm-up. In 2011, the event took place in a new location just in front of the European government institutions, with a clear view of the European Parliament. The 2013 edition will also take place on the famed courts, this time with the official Roland Garros balls. The playing conditions will thus be identical to those of the French Open.
Some of the best players in tennis history have played here and added their name to the tournament’s winner list. International stars such as Jana Novotna (1989), Mary Joe Fernandez (1994), Lindsay Davenport (1995, 96), Steffi Graf (1997), Jennifer Capriati (1999), Maria Sharapova (2010), Andrea Petkovic (2011), Fransesca Schiavone (2012) and Marion Bartoli (2013) have graced these courts. After Amélie Mauresmo and Julie Halard-Decugis made it to the finals, Aravane Rezaé¯ was the first French player to win the Internationaux de Strasbourg, in 2009. In 2010, the first time Maria Sharapova played in this tournament, she walked off with the victory. This was a historic moment since it also marked the first time a Russian player participated in a French tournament, other than the French open.
In 2013, the tournament welcomed more than 18 000 spectators from France, Switzerland and Germany. The relocation of the tournament from HautePierre to the Tennis Club of Strasbourg was a decisive factor of its success. In 2014 the I.S. tournament will continue to developp focusing on three main axes: Women, Sport and eco responsibility.