The Swiss Open has been played in the picturesque village of Gstaad since 1915. An outdoor clay court tournament, it is part of the ATP 250 series and takes place in July.
Although the event will soon be celebrating its centenary, it didn’t become a regular stop on the ATP Tour until the 1940s. Many of the amateur era’s most talented players made the trip to south-west Switzerland for the tournament, including Budge Patty and Rod Laver.
The tournament venue, the Roy Emerson Arena, is named in honour of the legendary Australian who, to date, has won more Swiss Open titles than any other player. Emerson reached six finals in Gstaad from 1960 - 1969, and hoisted the trophy on five occasions.
Although the village of Gstaad is home to only 3,200 people, its stunning Alpine setting makes it popular with tourists all over the world. As well as the Swiss Open, it hosts beach volleyball, polo, various music concerts. It is also a renowned ski resort.
In the Open Era, the Swiss Open has been won by six men who also triumphed on the clay at Roland Garros. Ilie Nastase won in Gstaad in 1973, Ken Rosewall was victorious in 1975, and Argentina’s Guillermo Vilas made the roll of honour in 1974 and 1978.
Sergi Bruguera made five consecutive finals in Gstaad from 1990 - 1994, winning the title three times. The 1996 French Open champion, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, won the Swiss Open the year before. Spain’s Albert Costa, the 1998 Gstaad champion, went on to win Roland Garros four years later.
Jiri Novak def. Roger Federer, 2003 final:
Roger Federer received a hero’s welcome at the Swiss Open in 2003, having become the first Swiss man to win a Grand Slam. He made the difficult switch from the grass courts of Wimbledon to the Gstaad clay seamlessly, and powered his way to the final. There, he faced the Czech Republic’s Jiri Novak, a man he was tipped to beat comfortably.
Perhaps wary of disappointing his legions of home fans, Federer played a nervy first set, but eventually managed to take it 7-5. However, the unforced errors soon began to pile up for the crowd favourite, and Novak, the 2001 Gstaad champion, capitalised, winning the second and third sets with relative ease.
Summoning the form that brought him the Wimbledon trophy, Federer regained control in the fourth set, breaking the Novak serve twice to take it 6-1. Yet the underdog refused to allow the momentum to shift, and he held firm at the start of the deciding set. As Federer finally showed signs of fatigue, Novak broke in the sixth game, and held serve for the remainder of the match to pull off a stunning upset and win his second title in Gstaad.
Federer made amends the following year, when he beat Igor Andreev to win the first title of his career on home soil.
- Roger Federer and Marat Safin teamed up to win the Swiss Open doubles title in 2001.
- The Netherlands’ Tom Okker lost four consecutive singles finals in Gstaad from 1968 - 1971. He also reached the doubles final in each of those years, with his sole victory coming in 1969.
- Roger Federer was presented with his very own cow at the 2003 Swiss Open, a reward for his winning Wimbledon the previous week.
- To date, the only other Swiss to win the singles title in Gstaad is Heinz Günthardt in 1980.
- Spaniards accounted for all but two Swiss Open titles from 1991 - 2002.