The Boss Open Experience

by Jonas Eriksson

I have just arrived back from another great Boss Open experience in Stuttgart. I try to go every year because it’s a tournament I enjoy a lot.

The Boss Open Experience

I started going to the Boss Open (then called the Mercedes Cup) in 2015 when they switched from clay courts to grass. Rafa won that first year, and meeting him was a great experience for me and my kid. I wasn’t working in tennis back then, but the company I worked for as the marketing director sponsored the tournament. We did so for three years, and I became friends with the tournament director, Edwin Weindorfer, who is a co-founder of E-motion, which also organizes events like the Bett1Open, the ATP 500 in Vienna, the Mallorca Championships, and other events both on the tennis, padel, and golf tours. He is also behind the Mallorca Country Club, which is the home of the Mallorca ATP 250.

One thing you know about the Emotion events is that they are well-organized, professional, have some nice entertainment, and both players and audience will be well cared for. And I prefer going to slightly smaller events because of the proximity to the players and the ease of moving around the venue. That being said, the French Open experience with Adidas, was also excellent, and watching tennis live, generally, is so much better than streaming it on TV. As a tennis player, you learn much more from seeing the strokes executed up close by the best players in the world.

Working at ATP events

There is so much work behind the scenes of ATP events. You need transport services, catering, court maintenance, ball boys, line umpires, referees, hitting partners for the players, accommodation, a stringing team, media rooms, equipment, and much more. My Boss Open experience was dual. I was part guest (I get a VIP pass, which means amazing food, drinks, and the ability to watch courts while eating), but I was also there as a part of the media. I join press conferences, film match highlights, and create content for the Tennisnerd social media channels. It’s fun, but a lot of work!

If you want to check out some of the stuff I’ve created, follow Tennisnerd on Instagram. Match highlights and a long vlog will be on the Tennisnerd YouTube channel shortly. Subscribing is free and means a lot.

Luckily, I had my buddy Karl Adrian (Adri) from a few of my YouTube videos, for example, one about footwork. He is on the Roman Safiullin (very nice guy and terrific player) coaching team and will travel with him for the grass-court season. Roman had a day off from training, so Adri had time to spend a day with me at the event. We recorded a vlog (coming soon), watched and talked about tennis, and hit for an hour on the practice courts.

The grass court transition

Going from clay courts to grass courts is not an easy transition to make. You go from the slowest to the fastest surface and it can take a while to adjust. This adjustment can be quite extreme, and some players will be unable to make it. The grass courts are a bit of a “leveler,” and you can expect some upsets early on. One of those was Stefanos Tsitsipas going out to Richard Gasquet. It was a close match, but Gasquet was more clutch in the deciding moments. I have been in touch with the Tsitsipas family briefly before about racquets and strings, and after the match, it was nice to be able to join them for dinner to talk about gear and also about tennis in general. Stef is a great guy and has the game to succeed on the biggest stages, so I hope he finds his grass-court game in the coming weeks. It’s a surface you need time to get used to.

Familiar faces

When you have been traveling around in the tennis world for a while, you start to see familiar faces around the different events. The tennis world is big, but small at the same time. I am sure the players feel that as they travel around the world, but mainly see courts, gyms, airports, and hotels. I have only gotten a small slice of that and although it might sound like a dream to some, it’s not the easiest life to always be traveling, while being expected to perform. And the tennis system can be brutal; one third set tie-break mistake and you’re out and on to the next one.

It would make sense to bring in some kind of round-robin system before the quarter-finals with groups of four, so you at least get three matches. I am eager to hear what you think of this idea in the comments. Henrik and I discuss this in our recent Racquet talk podcast.

But back to the topic, always nice to meet people you know and also have the opportunity to connect with other fellow tennis nerds. One of the big benefits of traveling around on the little bubble of the tennis tour.

One guy that really impressed me on and off the court is Frances Tiafoe, who I think is down-to-earth, engaging and fun to watch. He sat down next to me in the press room to watch the end of Fritz’s match and the answers he gave in the press conference were all excellent. At the time of writing, he is in the final against home favorite Jan-Lennard Struff.


Overall, another fantastic Boss Open Experience. As a tennis nerd and fan, I enjoyed every moment of it. I can really recommend visiting the tournament if you get the chance. I’d recommend going mid-week, like Wednesday or Thursday when there are fewer people and it is easier to move around and get access to good seats. The Saturday and Sunday are sold out and was a little more intense than the days before.

Next up for me on the tour is the Mallorca Championships—vlog and report to come from there as well. If you have any questions or ideas you want me to work on for upcoming content, let me know in the comments. Thanks for your support.

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