Barcelona Conde de Godó attracts world number one singles and doubles players
CNA / David Riol
Barcelona (ACN) The 65th edition of the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell -commonly called the Conde de Godó tournament- has begun this weekend and runs through until the 30th April. The tournament goes back a long way as it was held for the first time in 1953. The competition is organized by the Barcelona Royal Tennis Club (RCTB) and has a big impact on the city of Barcelona and the European clay court circuit given the presence each year of club member Rafael Nadal. In this 2017 edition, the Godó can count on the presence of world number one Andy Murray and Henri Kontinen, the leading players on the ATP single and doubles rankings respectively.
The Conde de Godó is an ATP 500, the third level of professional tennis tournaments. In spite of this, this competition has made a name for itself because of the reputation of the club, the city where it is played and because it is a good tournament to prepare other clay championships like the Madrid and Rome ATP 1000 or Roland Garros. This year there are four Top 10 players in the ATP rankings competing in Barcelona. In the singles draw the favourites are Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal (5th in ATP rank) who has just won the Montecarlo ATP 1000. Nadal also holds the Godó title for a record nine times, a number that can grow up to ten if he repeats last year’s victory.
“The Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell grows every year”, the tournament director, Albert Costa, said in a press conference. The Club aims to grow in the ATP rank in 2019, when a change in the competitions listing is planned. According to Albert Agustí, the Barcelona Royal Tennis Club president, the ATP knows that Conde de Godó is a great tournament and the Club wants to maintain this recognition. Agustí has also said that Nadal is very important for the competition: “the number of tickets sold grows in proportion to the results of Nadal”. The RCTB president has announced that the main court of the Club will be called the Rafa Nadal court and the organization is going to prepare an official act for its inauguration.
A club linked to the city
The Barcelona Royal Tennis Club is very involved with the city. During the week prior to the tournament and during the competition itself many activities and promotion campaigns are held in different places in the Catalan capital. In Passeig de Gràcia, the main commercial avenue of Barcelona, many shop windows have tennis motifs because of the Conde de Godó. “The image campaign is very positive to us because it attracts a lot of people interested in the tournament to our main street” Carlota Hurtado, the director of Passeig de Gràcia commercial association, told CNA.
The main social campaign is promoted by Banc Sabadell, a Catalan bank and the official sponsor of the tournament. The corporation donates 50€ for every ace during the competition.
Beyond Murray and Nadal
The doubles draw is one of the attractions in this 65th edition of the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell. Six players in the top 10 are coming including the best pair this year formed by the first and second on the ATP rankings: Henri Kontinen and John Peers. Marcelo Melo (5th in the ranking) with Lukasz Kubot (13th) and Jamie Murray (7th) alongside Bruno Soares (8th) are also favourites. Spanish aspirations are focussed on the pair formed by Feliciano López and Marc López, both in the top 20 and last Roland Garros winners.
The 2017 Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell includes a technological novelty that will be used for first time at the tournament. The Foxtenn Diamond Analysis is an improved system similar to Hawk-Eye. The difference is that it shows real play, not a recreation. The tournament director Albert Costa said: “it will not change the referee’s decision but it will be a big help for the spectator.