SWISS OPEN 2022
During a rather warm winter in July, I left hive HQ in Cape Town for one of my comfort zones – Gstaad, Switzerland. Blue skies, green mountains, picture perfect chocolate box chalets and, at this time of year, the Swiss Open. Set against one of the most spectacular backdrops to any ATP Tour tournament, the EFG Swiss Open is played on outdoor clay courts at the Roy Emerson Arena right in the heart of this charming Alpine village.
I was thrilled to be on the ground for one of the semi-finals and the final at the Swiss Open this year. Matteo Berrettini beat Dominic Thiem in the semi-final, striking the ball with power and accuracy, and took victory in two straight sets 6-1, 6-4. During the following day’s final, the scorching heat made the atmosphere even more intense. Going head-to-head against Casper Ruud, the 2021 defending champion, Berrettini sought to take back the Swiss title he won in 2018. Berrettini was in the zone with his big serve taking the first set 6-4. Hopes were really high now for his fans, but it was Ruud who bounced back. Shifting gear, he responded to the massive pressure and found his forehand, winning the next five points, and came through with a solid game. Here were the first signs for Berrettini, whose service was starting to waver and the pressure was reversed back onto him.
Ruud closed the second set in a tiebreak 7-4. With the two players now neck and neck, the match went into a decider. In the final set, Ruud’s colossal hitting gave everything back to Berrettini with added interest, beating him 6-2 in a high quality final.
Disappointed Berrettini fans, including myself, know just how capable he is with his big serve and challenging game. I have no doubt that he will be back next year for another shot at the title.
At the end of the day, what is life without tennis? I don’t know, I can’t imagine…