The Stockholm Open is an ATP 250 series tournament held every October.
The indoor hard court event dates back to the dawn of the Open Era, and countless tennis legends and Grand Slam champions have played in the Swedish capital over the years.
It was Sven Davidson - the first Swedish player to ever win a Grand Slam title - who was instrumental in the creation of the Stockholm Open. In 1969 he was asked to establish a competition for the sport’s newly professionalised top players, and he set about searching for a venue, organisers and sponsors. The first Stockholm Open was played in November of that year, and was a huge success with both players and fans.
The tournament was part of the Grand Prix Championship Series from 1970 - 1989; from 1990 - 1994, it was a Super 9 event, second only to the Grand Slams in terms of status. Since then, the Stockholm Open has been a smaller tournament on the ATP Tour, but has still managed to attract some of the biggest stars in tennis.
The Kungliga tennishallen, built in 1943, is the venue for the competition, and seats up to 5000 spectators.
Future Wimbledon champions Stan Smith and Arthur Ashe were among the early winners of the Stockholm Open: they won two titles each from 1970 - 1974. Other familiar names to triumph over the course of the next two decades include Boris Becker, Henri Leconte, Ivan Lendl and Goran Ivanisevic. John McEnroe holds the record for most titles, with four. The American won back-to-back trophies in 1978 - 1979 and again in 1984 - 1985.
However, for much of the 1980s and 1990s the Stockholm Open belonged to homegrown players. Bjorn Borg was the first Swedish winner of the tournament: he beat arch-rival McEnroe in the 1980 final. Mats Wilander was the champion in 1983, his sole win from four final appearances. Stefan Edberg won in 1986 and 1987, and was later emulated by Jonas Bjorkman and Thomas Johansson. But the most successful Swede to date is Thomas Enqvist, a Stockholm native who hoisted the trophy in 1995, 1996 and 1999.
In recent years, the title has been won by players of various nationalities and with very different playing styles. Big-serving Ivo Karlovic was the winner in 2007, and David Nalbandian upset the home crowd with victory over Robin Soderling the following year. In 2010, Roger Federer made his first - and so far only - trip to Sweden; unsurprisingly, he won the title comfortably.
Berdych def. Tsonga, 2012 final:
The 2012 Stockholm Open culminated in a dream final between the top two seeds. Tomas Berdych was aiming for his second title of the year, while Jo-Wilfred Tsonga was gunning for his third. The usually flamboyant Tsonga played patiently in the first set, getting good depth on his groundstrokes and inviting Berdych to go for too much. The Frenchman broke in the fifth game, and was able to close out the opening set 6-4 thanks to some impressive serving.
The beginning of the second set followed a similar pattern, with Tsonga proving steadier from the back of the court during some lengthy rallies. He broke Berdych again to lead 4-2, but this time the Czech managed to break back. Serving to stay in the set at 4-5, a more animated Tsonga overcooked a forehand to gift the set to his opponent.
The Stockholm crowd were treated to some excellent tennis in the decider, as both men summoned their best form. Berdych’s solid serving set him up for many easy putaways, but Tsonga’s superb defence and exquisite net play kept him in contention. Although each player had break points, neither managed to convert, and the set looked to be heading to a tie-break. However, in the ninth game, some loose serving from Tsonga, combined with a stunning backhand down the line from Berdych, saw the Czech earn two match points. The man from Le Mans saved both, but Berdych wasn’t to be denied a third time, and he sealed victory when Tsonga doubled faulted.
Video: Berdych v Tsonga, 2012
- A women’s tournament was held alongside the men’s event in 1975, 1979 and 1980.
- A Swedish player finished runner-up at the Stockholm Open every year from 1994 - 1991.
- Jonas Bjorkman has won the doubles title three times with three different partners.
- After Stan Smith beat Arthur Ashe in the 1970 singles final, the compatriots then teamed up to win the doubles title later in the day.