from Neue Westfälische
by Jörg Fritz
translated into English by Mauro Cappiello
Navratilova and Stich win in front of 10,000 fans against Edberg and Myskina
Halle. Three Wimbledon champions stood on the Centre Court, for the Champions Trophy in 2012, the opening of the 20th Gerry Weber Open in Halle. Some 10,000 spectators were amazed about the still present form of Martina Navratilova and her partner, Michael Stich, and Stefan Edberg, who played with the 2004 French Open champion, Anastasia Myskina (30).
With an ace the 43-year-old Stich converted his second match point to a 5:7, 6:2, 10:8 victory for the German-American team, which had to struggle only in the early stages with some coordination problems. 55-year old Navratilova had expected these difficulties «as Michael does not often play mixed doubles".
Navratilova, who won 18 Grand Slam singles titles during her long career, was active on Saturday at the French Open in Paris, as she played in the legends final. Edberg (46) had been preparing for his first appearance in Halle even on grass in an exhibition match in his country against compatriot Magnus Larsson.
In the end, it took 16 years before Edberg was able to play for the first time in Halle, "in 1996 I had to cancel due to an injury", recalls the Scandinavian, who, after the end of his career, earns his money as an asset manager.
As a tennis player, he came in with his aggressive serve-and-volley game always at high risk, "which in my current job I can no longer afford. I invest only conservative", Edberg tells of his new life.
Martina Navratilova, who was also in Halle for the first time schwarmte, was enthusiast of the extraordinary facilities of the Gerry Weber Open. "It is like a dream for the players. You go from the hotel directly to the Centre Court or the practice courts. Wonderful!". The intent of the GWO organizers to host a combined tournament for men and women doesn't find the unanimous vote by the left-handed. "The big danger is that the women could be neglected. They would only be number two," is her concern. Navratilova would therefore appreciate if women and men were hosted at different times in Halle.
Steffi Graf's former rival was 331 weeks at the top of the women's world rankings (Graf: 377 weeks). In the memory of the native Czech woman who applied for a political asylum in the United States at the age of 18, another German plays a crucial role. "I played the hardest match of my career in 1973 and three years later against Helga Masthoff. Under extreme weather conditions in Florida, I was really worn out".
Michael Stich, who was the first German player to win the Gerry Weber Open in 1994, drew the conclusions: "The result of the Champions Trophy is secondary. It's more important that the crowd had fun". At this point, Stich had forgiven Stefan Edberg, who had "hit" him with a volley.
Week-end in Westphalia
The Edberg family with Gerry Weber Open director Ralf Weber at the exit of the Sport Park Hotel
From Växjö in Sweden to Halle in Westphalia there are about 1,000 kilometers. Just the right distance for a short weekend trip - at least for family Edberg.
And so the two-time Wimbledon champion Stefan came with wife Annette, daughter Emilie and son Christopher for his performance in the Champions Trophy.
But the family had little time to enjoy the amenities of the Sports Park hotel. Papa Edberg, who now owns his own asset management company had to leave quickly to Sweden after the show match because of important dates.
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- When Sweden ruled the tennis world...
- Ball boy Federer receives medal after Edberg vs Stich final
- Edberg dazzles in Legends debut
- Grand Cayman, here's the schedule
- Kings of Tennis 2013
- Champions once, champions forever
- The show of the legends
- Martina Navratilova/Michael Stich vs Anastasia Myskina/Stefan Edberg
- Halle 2012 - Where my dream came true
- Superstars inaugurated KTK's new grass courts
- In Halle, waiting for THE DAY