Optima Open 2014 report
I spent a day in Knokke-Heist, Belgium, last month to attend the third day of the Optima Open, the Belgian stop of the ATP Champions Tour. It was the second seniors event I attended this year after the World Tennis Day showdown in London last March (find all the recap here).
Situated in the heart of the country’s Flemish-speaking Flanders region, Knokke-Heist is considered to be one of Belgium’s most exclusive and affluent seaside resorts. Knokke-Heist is the perfect base for exploring the enchanting Zwin region, on the Belgian-Dutch border.
The tournament has the typical senior event format: 2 groups of 3 players, with the winners of each group facing each other in final. This year the Optima Open also featured a star-studded mixed doubles exhibition event: with three former world number one, winnners of 20 singles Grand Slam titles in total, and tennis’ greatest entertainer, Mansour Bahrami completing the foursome.
|Group A||Group B||Special guests|
|Fabrice Santoro||Xavier Malisse||Kim Clijsters|
|Greg Rusedski||Goran Ivanisevic||Monica Seles|
|Henri Leconte||Pat Cash||John McEnroe|
All results on the official website (Malisse beat Santoro in the final)
It was also really nice to see former top 20 players Sabine Appelmans and Dominique Monami, who introduced and interviewed players on court. I still remember being really moved by Monami’s win over Davenport at Roland Garros, a few weeks after the death of her mother.
Sabine (left) and Dominique (right):
The Optima Open is really different from a WTA or ATP tournament: players have fun, the atmosphere is really relaxed and there’s also a DJ!
Goran Ivanisevic vs Pat Cash
First match of the day between Wimbledon champions Goran Ivanisevic and Pat Cash. Goran is a 3-time Optima Open champion, and apparently wasn’t really pleased with the organization decision to award a wild card to Xavier Malisse, who ended his ATP career less than a year ago.
Goran wins 6-4 6-4, check out the recap and more pics here.
Henri Leconte vs Greg Rusedski
Monsieur Leconte still has some magic in his racquet, but lost to Rusedski 5-7 3-6. All the pics and a few videos here.
Kim Clijsters/Mansour Bahrami vs Monica Seles/John McEnroe
This entertaining day of tennis ended with the much expected mixed-doubles exhibition. Some spectacular rallies and lots of laughs, enjoy more pics and videos here.
It was a great day of tennis and fun at the Optima Open, I hope to come back next year!
All the Optima Open 2014 reports: