The Swiss Tennis Federation is following the lead of the LTA and other national associations in providing local competitive play for its top players as a means of restarting tennis in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The fact that all members of the two national teams are at the event shows how much we do we look forward to the resumption of the tour... We offer the athletes a top-class event, match practice, prize money and the best sporting entertainment thanks to the top Swiss players - a win-win situation for everyone. Rene Stammbach, President of Swiss Tennis
The Swiss Tennis Pro Cup, which will be held from 25-26 July at the Swiss Tennis Arena in Biel, will feature players from the national Fed Cup and Davis Cup teams, including Belinda Bencic and Martina Hingis.
In the women’s event, there will be two teams – Team White consisting of Jil Teichmann, Viktorija Golubic, Patty Schnyder, with Heinz Günthardt as Captain, while Team Red will include Belinda Bencic, Stefanie Vogele and Martina Hingis, led by Severin Luthi, Roger Federer’s coach.
In the absence of Federer, who is recovering from a second knee procedure, the top player in the men’s is Henri Laaksonen, ranked No 137 in the world, while others include Sandro Ehrat, Marc-Andrea Hesler, Johan Nikles, Jakub Paul and Antoine Bellier, along with some juniors.
The format of the women’s event is 2 singles matches, a legends singles, and a doubles match; while the men will play 4 singles and a doubles match, the same format as the Davis Cup.
All will be “Fast 4” format matches with a super tiebreak in the 3rd set and the event will be broadcast on television.
“It is nice to have another goal and to prepare for a competition,” Belinda Bencic, the current World No 8 said.
Rene Stammbach, President of Swiss Tennis, said: “The fact that all members of the two national teams are at the event shows how much we do we look forward to the resumption of the tour.
“Our leading partner and SRG were immediately enthusiastic about the idea of such a team cup between our top players.
“We offer the athletes a top-class event, match practice, prize money and the best sporting entertainment thanks to the top Swiss players – a win-win situation for everyone.”
Belinda Bencic reached a career-high ranking of No 4 in the world in February 2020, and has won 4 singles and 2 doubles titles on the WTA Tour.
Martina Hingis is a former World No 1, having spent a total of 209 weeks in the top singles spot, and 90 weeks as World No 1 in doubles.
She has won 5 Grand Slam singles titles, 13 Grand Slam women’s doubles titles, and 7 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles for a combined total of 25 major titles.
In addition, she won the season-ending WTA Finals, twice in singles and three times in doubles, and an Olympic silver medal.
Elsewhere, the FFT is taking a cautious step out of the coronavirus lockdown with the announcement of the a mini-tour on the French Riviera in July.
The idea of former French professional Thierry Ascione, but created and organised by the FFT, the tour is to be known as the ‘Challenge Elite FFT’ and will made up of 3 tournaments with events in Nice from 6-11 July, Cannes 13-18 July and Villeneuve-Loubet from 20-25 July.
The events will be open to 24 men and 12 women, with most of the places reserved for players whose rankings would gain them entry to the qualifying rounds at Grand Slam events.
The surface, hard or clay, has yet to be determined and is dependent on whether or not the hard court American swing goes ahead, with an announcement on the US Open expected on Monday
The semi-finals and final of the Challenge Elite FFT will be broadcast on the FFT’s web channel.
The lower level professional events in the French CNGT circuit will also resume in July at around 30 clubs.
“These two tours will allow players to play matches, get back in shape for a resumption of the international season and receive prize money,” said the FFT. “Officials and professional coaches will also have the opportunity to return to the court.”