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Towering Thanks in Front of the Tennis Arena

By Martin Pütter, Photo: Juri Weiss/bs.ch

The Swiss Indoors, Basel’s annual indoor tennis tournament, celebrate a special anniversary in 2014.

When it comes to sport in Basel, two things tower even more than head and shoulders above the rest: football (aka soccer) and tennis. Football – in the form of FC Basel – does it almost on a daily basis, whereas tennis grabs the limelight just for eight days in autumn. The Swiss Indoors even hit the headlines abroad – check the sports pages of the BBC website during the tournament. And this year the tournament, which has brought (almost) all the greatest tennis players of the last four decades to Basel, is celebrating a special anniversary: it is the 40th time this tennis event is taking place in the St. Jakob-Halle.

To thank Roger Brennwald, founder and organiser of the Swiss Indoors, the management team of the St. Jakob-Halle wrapped up the tower in front of the building with a huge message: “40 years Swiss Indoors in the St. Jakob-Halle. Many thanks, Roger Brennwald.” The eyes of Basel’s “Mr. Tennis” got a bit wet, but the thanks are quite appropriate. Brennwald has done more than just organise a tennis tournament. During the eulogies at the official event to unveil this “Tower of Thanks” Daniel Egloff, head of Basel Tourism, said that the Swiss Indoors have made Basel as well-known around the world as the Basler Fasnacht. Exaggerated? Maybe, maybe not. Brennwald saw the funny side. The message could remain permanently, he said, tongue firmly in his cheek. Well, there certainly will be Baslers who will take up this idea seriously.

A look at the sides of the tower reveals all the past winners of this tournament since it was first held in the St. Jakob-Halle. The names read like a “Who’s Who” of men’s tennis – and they are the reason why tickets for this tournament are so sought after. It is not often that you can watch some of the world’s best tennis players in action up close – the Swiss Indoors offer this opportunity.

And this year it seems that even FC Basel, who play their home matches just across the road, acknowledge the importance of this tennis tournament. Concurrently with the Swiss Indoors are taking place it is also Champions League week for the Swiss football Champions. However, FCB play their fixture against Bulgarian Champions Ludogorats Razgrad away while the tennis cracks draw the crowd to the St. Jakob-Halle – ensuring that tennis stays in the limelight


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