Peer Zebergs has the touch. The man is like a solid rock in the midst of a storm. Just a few weeks before the start of a big – maybe the greatest ever – sports event in the history of Mallorca: a relaxed Zebergs takes a walk through the construction site. The future Country Club Tennis Academy in Santa Ponsa lies directly in front of the same-named Country Club. An army of construction workers is running around to get things finished. There is still a lot to do, until the German tournament director Zebergs can watch the “first service” at the WTA Mallorca Open tournament from June 11 to 19 – with some of the best professional women tennis players in the world.
Nevertheless, Zebergs remains relaxed: “A few months ago, there was absolutely nothing to see here except a fallow field,” he says proudly. Since then, all sorts happened.
By the beginning of June, a total of 11 tennis courts and a large centre court with open-air theatre atmosphere for nearly 3,000 spectators are to be completed. The core of the project is the three-floor clubhouse with a large outdoor pool, chill-out zones, VIP area and sky lounge on the roof terrace. From above guests can not only look at the Centre Court but also across Santa Ponsa Bay, a few miles away.
Several million euros have been invested in the project. The company ‘e / motion’ is responsible for the construction of the grass courts, with Zebergs as project manager. The WTA Mallorca Open will be hosted here over the next five years.
The enterprise is a clear success, according to Zebergs: “Our date and fixture are perfect,” he says enthusiastically. Reason: The tournament in Mallorca is an optimal preparation for the tennis ladies on their way to the Grand Slam tournament of Wimbledon at the end of June.
Zebergs knows what he is talking about. The 57-year-old Swabian is an expert on the professional tennis circuit. The lawyer began his career specializing in sports law in the early 1990s alongside tennis promoter Axel Meyer-Wolden, former supervisor of Boris Becker. Over the next years, Zebergs worked, among others, for the sports agency of German ex-football-international Günther Netzer. Thereafter he lived in Monaco for three years – as European head of the International Tennis Association ATP. For ‘e / motion’ he also organized the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart for several years – another lawn tennis gentlemen´s tournament in preparation for Wimbledon.
Mallorca will soon become a “tasty appetizer” for the world-famous grass tournament in London: to achieve this, Neil Stubley – the supreme guardian of the grass courts of the All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon – was involved in the construction of the Centre Court in Santa Ponsa.
Among the tennis stars fighting for the $250,000 prize money at the Mallorca Open in June are Spain’s current best tennis player Garbiñe Muguruza and former WTA No. 1 Ana Ivanovic. Due to the almost 100 per cent guarantee of perfect weather conditions in June on Mallorca, the competitors will always enjoy playing the match of the day at 19:00h.
Of course, Mallorca’s tennis prodigy Rafael Nadal must not be left out at the Mallorca Open. He will be represented by his uncle and coach Toni Nadal, who was signed as a tournament ambassador, as well as Barbara Wittner, Fed Cup team captain of Germany.
However, not everything is about tennis during the tournament week. “We offer a colourful programme with after parties, live music, car presentations, and a fashion show.” And football supporters will be satisfied: “On the occasion of the European Championship in France, we want the matches of England, Spain, and Germany streamed on large screens as part of themed evenings,” says Zebergs.
How are the “after-tournament plans”? The tennis courts will be used by the guests of a future luxury hotel to be built alongside Santa Ponsa Country Club – between the annual WTA tournaments. “Mixed activities are the key,” says Peer Zebergs. “Tennis, golf, yachting, Mediterranean cuisine, and wellbeing. This should work for sure.”
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