SPORTS

Status Athens Open rained out

Matthias Bachinger from Germany won the trophy of the Status Athens Open 2011, but the final day of the tournament in the northern suburb of Maroussi proved a major anticlimax for the ATP Challenger Series event.

The day of the singles and doubles finals was completely washed out due to the relentless rain on April 17, forcing organizers to abandon hope of staging the finals after eight hours of waiting.

Bachinger won the title as his opponent in the final, Russia?s Dmitry Tursunov, announced late on Sunday that he was withdrawing due to a knee problem.

In similar fashion, the doubles trophy at the $125,000 tournament went to Colin Fleming from Britain and Scott Lipsky from the US, as their opponents also withdrew. The second semifinal of the doubles was another rain victim on Saturday and never got to resume.

In its fourth year, the tournament seemed to have established itself as the prime men’s tennis event in this country, but despite offering free entrance for spectators it did not attract the number of fans it could have, largely due to the lack of publicity.

“We are very happy as well as proud that in difficult times such as these and in adverse conditions we were true to our promises and were here for the fourth year in succession,» said the tournament’s general director, Alexis Zitridis.

“We were here, even better than on Athens’s fixed date with tennis last year, with the desire to continue for an even better tournament,» he added.

State broadcaster ERT had the rights to cover the tournament live but decided not to air any of the action before Sunday, although it had planned to screen the event on Sport+, and was left with a gap in its schedule on Sunday due to the rain, meaning that it did not even broadcast a single point from the tournament.

On the positive side, a number of companies again supported the so-called «tennis village» outside the Olympic Tennis Center in Maroussi and gave fans the feeling of a complete tennis experience that the sport has been desperately lacking in this country.