Ice Skates & Tie-Breaks! ATP Tour Tennis As An 'Alternative Lunchbreak' In Vienna

  • Posted: Oct 26, 2023

Ice Skates & Tie-Breaks! ATP Tour Tennis As An ‘Alternative Lunchbreak’ In Vienna

Erste Bank Open’s separate second court is set in historic city centre

The people of Vienna have the option of a unique backdrop for their lunchtime sandwiches this week, thanks to the Erste Bank Open.

Since 2021, the ATP 500 in Vienna has been the home to one of the most unique second courts on the ATP Tour. While the main stadium court is located in the city’s west inside the Wiener Stadthalle, the tournament’s second arena, the #glaubandich (German for ‘Believe In Yourself’) Court, is nestled right in the middle of the Austrian capital’s historic city centre.

The temporary stadium is erected on one half of the ice rink at the Vienna Ice Skating Club. Its location not only gives the tented court an interesting backdrop outside, but also ensures that top-level tennis is as accessible as possible for busy Viennese going about their days.

“I had in mind to activate tennis in the city centre,” tournament director Herwig Straka told “Vienna is a pretty big city, and the Stadthalle is not in the city centre. The feeling was that inside the tennis community, everybody knows about the event, but outside not. Positioning a second match court in the city centre attracted a lot of new fans, young fans, a new audience. This was the basic idea.”

Vienna Glaubandich Court

The #glaubandich Court is located at the Vienna Ice Skating Club. Photo Credit: Andy West/ATP Tour.

To further open the tournament to workers in the city centre, Straka and his team decided on another innovation. Tickets for the #glaubandich Court, which also include free popcorn and free access to ice-skating next door, can be purchased for shortened time slots, with the cheapest available granting admission for two hours.

This concept, known as ‘Erste Bank Open 2 Go’, means those working in the vicinity can drop by, without having to arrange a day off, to spend an hour or two watching some of the best players in the world compete.

“It added a lot of attractions and awareness in the city for this event,” explained Straka. “Part of its success, and we sold out almost every day completely this year, is attracting a new audience. It’s a very low threshold — you can only pay 10 Euros, you can pay for the whole day or only pay for two hours. This is the ‘to-go’ concept, that you can consume tennis for only a limited amount of time.

“That created a new audience. It’s like a restaurant. You try it ‘to-go’, you like it, and then you go back for a four-course dinner. Those people [next time] come to the Stadthalle, and I think that is part of its success.”

Fans queuing in Vienna

Fans drop by Vienna’s #glaubandich Court to experience the ‘Erste Bank Open 2 Go’. Photo Credit: Andy West/ATP Tour.

So far this week, players from the Top 50 of the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings who have played singles matches in the centre of Vienna include Tommy Paul, Karen Khachanov, Francisco Cerundolo, Matteo Arnaldi and Lorenzo Sonego. Meanwhile top seeds Wesley Koolhof/Neal Skupski, as well as 2022 champions and home favourites Alexander Erler/Lucas Miedler, are among the doubles teams that have competed in the heart of one of the world’s most elegant capital cities.

“[The players] like the quality and proximity of the court to the hotel,” said Straka. “We are improving the second venue year-by-year to match the Stadthalle. Sometimes [at indoor events] the second or third courts don’t match the same standard — the ceiling height, for example. This is the nature of an indoor event. But the quality of playing [at the #glaubandich Court] is great. That is something the players also like.”

<a href=Karen Khachanov” />

World No. 16 Karen Khachanov meets fans at the #glaubandich Court on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Erste Bank Open/Lars Maurer.

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