The German Open women's tournament was removed from the international tennis calendar this week after its Qatari owners relinquished control of the Berlin event.
Tennis fans in Hamburg and Berlin can kiss their cities' respective majors goodbye
The scrapping of the tournament is a serious blow for organized tennis in Germany, which is now left without any major men's or women's tourney after the men’s Hamburg Masters, or German Open Hamburg, was downgraded to "500" status. That means it no longer qualifies as a Masters Series event.
The Qatari Tennis Federation gave no reason for selling its stake in the Berlin women's event.
Held in Berlin each May, the tournament was an important lead-up event to the French Open and a favorite of former German tennis great Steffi Graf, who was a nine-time winner of the meet.
The German Tennis Federation (DTB) said it would fight the cancellation of the women’s tournament and demotion of the men's event.
"Scrapping the Germen Open (in Berlin) would be a very big loss for the German tennis scene," DTB spokesperson Oliver Quante told news agency Reuters on Thursday, Jan. 15. "We will make efforts to keep this tournament in Berlin because it would be sad to see this long-standing event die."
German tennis to fight for events
Rafael Nadal of Spain was the last to win the Hamburg tournament
The event was one of the oldest women's events still in existence.
"We have still not accepted the downgrading of Hamburg. Berlin and Hamburg are two different issues. Germany is still a major market for tennis," Quante said.
But he added that the DTB was optimistic the twin blows would not impact the popularity of tennis in Germany.
"Tennis is still a popular sport in Germany. Obviously it helps to have major tournaments or a world number one player to promote the sport," said Quante.
"But we have talented players with lots of potential coming up. We will also fight to keep the Berlin tournament going. Let's see where we are in five years time."