Celebrating Szczecin On The ATP Challenger Tour
ATPChallengerTour.com pays tribute to the two-time Tournament of the Year award winner
In December, four tournaments were recognised for excellence in standards set across the global ATP Challenger Tour and for their steadfast commitment to growing the game. These integral events in Puerto Vallarta, Heilbronn, Braunschweig and Szczecin have become player and fan favourites for their dedication to providing a world-class experience both on and off the court.
This week would have been the 28th edition of the Pekao Szczecin Open, which earned Tournament of the Year honours for the second time since 2016. Despite being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Szczecin remains one of the more historic and iconic locales on the circuit.
One of the more popular Challenger destinations since its inception nearly three decades ago, Szczecin has boasted an impressive winners' circle over the years. Nine players who have eventually broken into the Top 20 of the FedEx ATP Rankings have won in Szczecin, including six-time ATP Tour winner Pablo Cuevas, former World No. 3 Nikolay Davydenko and former World No. 7 Richard Gasquet.
Szczecin has also witnessed the arrival of #NextGenATP star Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and current World No. 32 Jan-Lennard Struff. In 2014, Struff finished runner-up in Szczecin before lifting the trophy a year later. And, at the age of 19, Davidovich Fokina reached his first Challenger final on the clay of Szczecin in 2018. One year later, he would qualify for the Next Gen ATP Finals and crack the Top 100 of the FedEx ATP Rankings.
A second Tournament of the Year honour is representative of Szczecin’s steadfast commitment to growing the game in a world-class environment. Much of the tournament’s success can be attributed to its passionate and energetic organisers, led by tournament director Leopold Korytkowski and chairman Krzysztof Bobala. The team has helped create an incredible atmosphere that filled the stands last year, with more than 25,000 people attending the event to watch some of the best clay-court tennis on the Challenger circuit.
Tennis in Poland is enjoying a golden era on the ATP Challenger Tour, with tournaments in Szczecin and Poznan celebrating more than 25 years and former Top 10 doubles star Mariusz Fyrstenberg leading the charge in Sopot. The Challenger 125 event in Szczecin is the oldest and largest pro tournament in the country. Packed crowds are the norm in the Polish metropolis, with the locals contributing to the electric atmosphere.
Much of the reason that players enjoy the tournament as much as they do, is thanks to the world-class hospitality at the Szczecin Tennis Club. The 10-court club, which was founded in 1946 and later rebuilt after World War II, has a massive Centre Court that is nearly entirely enclosed by fans. There are even two tiers of seating on one side of the event’s crown jewel, which you will always find full of some of the best crowds on the ATP Challenger Tour.
Publications throughout Poland and the rest of Europe also flock to Szczecin, which is just 30 minutes from the German border and one of the country’s most important seaports, to cover the event. There is a VIP Club at the tournament that provides red carpet treatment for guests with top-class food and drinks. Fans can also enjoy concerts that take place in an outdoor space on-site during the event.
"This is great news and an amazing gift for our team," said Bobala. "We will continue to work even harder going forward."