© Henk Koster

Piet van Eijsden, fifth from left, with former Dutch Open champions at the 50-year anniversary Gala Dinner in July 2007.

Piet van Eijsden, Long-Time Tournament Director, Dies Aged 85

Piet van Eijsden, the former Dutch champion and long-time Tournament Director, has passed away after a short illness aged 85.

Van Eijsden was associated with the Dutch Open in various positions for more than 50 years, first as a member of the ‘t Melkhisje tennis club in Hilversum, where the clay-court tournament was held between 1957 and 1994. He was instrumental in its move to Amsterdam (1995-2002) and later to Amersfoort (2003-2008).

As a player, Van Eijsden captured 11 Dutch titles, including the 1961 singles championship, and was a part of the Davis Cup team between 1958 and 1966. Van Eijsden helped to attract the likes of Rod Laver, Tom Okker, John Newcombe, Guillermo Vilas, Thomas Muster, Miloslav Mecir and Marcelo Rios to the Dutch Open. After 20 years on the organising committee, Van Eijsden became the Tournament Director in 1978.

Van Eijsden stepped down as Tournament Director in 2004 handing over the reins to his daughter. But he remained as an ambassador and two years later presented Novak Djokovic with the singles trophy, when the Serbian star captured his first ATP Tour title over Chile’s Nicolas Massu 7-6(5), 6-4 at the Sportpark Bokkeduinen in Amersfoort.

In July 2007, Van Eijsden joined former champions — Ladislav Legenstein, winner of the first edition in 1957, Okker ((1966, ’69-70, ’73), Vilas (1974-75), six-time champion Balazs Taroczy (1976, ’78-82), Miloslav Mecir (1987), Francisco Clavet (1990, ‘96), Magnus Gustafsson (1991, 2000) and Alex Corretja (2001) — at a Gala Dinner to celebrate the 50-year anniversary of the Dutch Open. After the 2008 edition, the license was sold and the tournament moved to Belgrade, where it became known as the Serbia Open.

Piet van Eijsden, tennis player and tournament director, born 9 May 1936, died 19 May 2021.