ECC Antwerp


ECC Antwerp

The European Community Championship was a professional tennis tournament held from 1982 until 1995 in Antwerp, Belgium. The tournament was held as a special invitational/exhibition event run outside the Grand Prix series, and not earning any ATP ranking points until 1992, when the tournament became part of the ATP Tour. While an exhibition tournament, invitations were extended to players who won a tournament title in Europe during that year. The surface of the tournament was indoor carpet.

The tournament used to be the world's richest indoor tennis tournamentFact|date=November 2007 offering the highest prize money. The inaugural event was held in December 1982 offering a $700,000 purse for 24 players field while the high level (Super Series) European Grand Prix events like the Italian Open or indoor tournament in Wembley, London offered only $300,000 and $200,000 respectively.

It was called European Champions' Championship and from 1986 was renamed to European Community Championship (ECC). Its nickname was "Gold Racquet" tournament because if a player won the tournament three times within a 5 year span, he would receive also a special trophy, a life-size, 13.2-pound gold racquet studded with 1,420 diamonds valued at $1,000,000. The Proximus Diamond Games, a WTA Tour event held in Antwerp since 2002, has a similar trophy system.

In 1985 Ivan Lendl won his 3rd title within 4 years and received the $200,000 winners prize together with the Gold Racquet. In 1991 Boris Becker spoiled Lendl's quest for a $1.25 million prize ($250,000 prize money plus the $1 million racquet) at the ECC in Antwerp by beating him, 6-4, 7-5, in the semifinals. Had Lendl won, he would have kept the gold-and-diamond racquet trophy valued at about $1 million, adding to his from 1985. He was in the running for a second after victories in 1987 and 1989, but wound up with only $100,000 that year.

Past winners and runner-ups

References

*World of Tennis annuals


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