Herwig Straka has been the tournament director of the Erste Bank Open since 2008 and over the past 15 years has developed the domestic tennis spectacle into Austria's highest-paying, recurring sporting event with great international appeal. A decisive step towards this was the upgrading of the event to an ATP 500 tournament in 2015. Last year, the barrier of 70,000 visitors was broken for the first time - a mark that will even be surpassed this year.
For his achievements in connection with the Erste Bank Open, Herwig Straka received the Golden Decoration of Merit of the State of Vienna from Peter Hanke, City Councillor for Finance and Economic Affairs, on Saturday. "It is to Herwig Straka's credit that this tournament puts Vienna in the global spotlight as a sports venue. The tournament is not only of crucial importance for the sports city of Vienna, it is also economically one of the most successful events in the city and therefore also plays an important role for tourism in Vienna. Today we are honoring a very great fellow human being who, with his enthusiasm for the cause, removed any obstacles even in extremely difficult times and made the seemingly impossible possible. If it weren't for Herwig Straka, Vienna would certainly not be this fixed star in the calendar of world-class tennis," emphasized Hanke during the presentation of the Golden Order of Merit at the Centre Court of the Vienna Stadthalle.
Foto: (c) e|motion/Bildagentur Zolles KG/Sascha Feuster
"I am very happy about this award on a historic day for the tournament. For the first time, four superstars from the top 7 in the world rankings are in the semifinals in Vienna, and in a sold-out Wiener Stadthalle. Both makes me very proud and is a great confirmation for the path we have taken with the Erste Bank Open. I would like to thank Peter Hanke and the City of Vienna very much for this award and the good cooperation. This form of recognition cannot be taken for granted, so I appreciate it all the more. At the same time, it is an incentive to further develop the tournament together with my team in the coming years in order to continue to offer fans unforgettable tennis moments and world-class sport at the Erste Bank Open," said Herwig Straka.