Boris Becker drove a Nobel car, but during the groundbreaking ceremony for the International Tennis Academy named after him, the German tennis legend gave himself a shirt-sleeved.
During the ceremonial ceremony on the 48,000-square-metre site in Hochheim, Hesse, Becker officially launched the construction of the 22 million euro project, to be completed in the autumn of 2021.
“It’s great that the plans have come true despite the Corona crisis. The project didn’t falter, but there was no planning certainty,” Becker said. “So it’s a small miracle that we’re standing here today, despite the pandemic.” Shortly thereafter, the first excavators rolled on.
For Becker, it was the end of a “good tennis week” after wednesday’s green light was given for the continuation of the global tour, which had been suspended since mid-March, starting in August. “I’m glad it’s going to continue. It’s important that the players can resume their profession,” said the 52-year-old.
During the Corona break, he received “terrible calls” from professionals, Becker said, about the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. “99 percent of players depend on prize money. They have no high advertising revenue and no protection. Many have therefore considered whether to look for another profession. Sometimes they weren’t even allowed to teach tennis,” the three-time Wimbledon winner said of the difficult time in the Corona break.
Becker sees the fact that two grand slam tournaments are taking place this year with the US Open and the French Open as an encouraging sign for the industry , which is fighting for its survival. I am even hopeful that the French Open will be played in front of the spectators.” The organizers had moved the top tournament in Paris from May to November.
Becker also expects the Davis Cup to go ahead as planned. “We have qualified for the final and I expect to play in Madrid at the end of November,” said the german men’s tennis boss. The DTB squad had secured the ticket to the final round with a victory over Wit-Russia in March. “This was the last official tennis event in Germany, two days later came the lockdown,” Becker said afterwards.
He also has high hopes for the tennis academy, for which investor Khaled Ezzedine received an official building permit on Thursday. In addition to the world’s largest indoor hall with 21 seats, an extra 18 outdoor spaces will be built in the coming months, a 110-room hotel, a restaurant, a gymnasium and a Boris Becker museum on the grounds between Wiesbaden and Mainz. “I’m going to take care of the players and coaches, but not every week,” Becker said, emphasizing, “It’s a matter of heart for me.”