HISTORY OF THE TOURNAMENT
International tennis tournament St. Petersburg Open is part of the ATP World Tour series and follows the tennis traditions of Russia which began at the end of the 19th century in a place called Lakhta located on the waterfront of the Gulf of Finland. It was in St. Petersburg where the first Russian tennis clubs appeared, the first tennis championships were held, and the first Russian champions were born: Bray brothers, Sumarokov-Elston, Alenitsyn, MacPherson. Lawn tennis – as they used to call the sport – came to Russia just a year after the first Wimbledon.
At the beginning of the 20th century there were about 10 tennis clubs in Russia, and the Lakhta Lawn Tennis Club alone had about 100 members.The World War I and the revolution temporarily stopped the development of tennis in Russia, and significantly reduced the number of players and admirers because of the inevitable emigration and ideological barriers. Nevertheless, in the mid-20s new champions started appearing in Leningrad. Yevgeny Kudryavtsev, Tatiana Sukhodolskaya, Boris Spiegel, Vyacheslav Multino, Tatiana Nalimova, Zinaida Klochkova, and Galina Korovina have played a great part in the history of Russian tennis. The city on the Neva river also raised a talented athlete from Tiflis, a multiple USSR champion in the 1930-50s– Eduard Negrebetsky.The proud history of St. Petersburg Open started in 1995. The first tournament took place at St. Petersburg Sports and Concert Complex “SKK Peterburgsky”, and the first title was taken by Yevgeny Kafelnikov who defeated Guillaume Raoux in the final. The attendance that year was about 27 000. The prize money total was $300 000.
During the following years the popularity of the tournament was only increasing. The Russian tennis fans’ love for the tournament was rewarded twice in two consecutive years – 2000 and 2001 – by the victories of Marat Safin, who was then at the beginning of his career. Later, in 2004 the title went to Mikhail Youzhny who is so far the last Russian champion of St. Petersburg Open.Among the winners of the tournament there is also one of the best four players of the modern era, a two-time winner and a multiple finalist of the Grand Slam tournaments, and an Olympic champion Andy Murray, who won St. Petersburg Open twice.