Many people have heard of all the big tennis tournaments such as the four Grand Slams: Wimbledon, The French Open, the American Open, The Australian Open. However, there are other tournaments not so well-known but equally as thrilling, and one of them is the Millennium Estoril Open. Here at estoril-open.com we will be looking at everything to do with this fantastic tournament. We’ll look at its creation, the past tournaments and the fun facts about the tournament.
Although this isn’t a competition that’s been around for as long as the others in its current format, there is no doubt that this is a tournament that is making its mark on the tennis calendar. It now attracts more and more of the big names with its rebranding. Having previously been known as the Estoril Open and the Portugal Open, the new name brings it straight into the new millennium. Having changed its name, this ATP and WTA clay court tennis tournament has also changed its location from Oieras to Cascais. This is a tournament that has seen a lot of change but is just going to get even bigger and better in the future.
The original men’s tournament was created in 1990, so it is nowhere near as old as some of the older Championships. However, since its creation, it has been won by several of the top ten players in the world, including Thomas Muster in 1995 and 1996; Carlos Moya in 2000; Juan Carlos Ferrero in 2001; Novak Djokovic in 2007 and Roger Federer in 2008. During this time the tournament was part of the ATP World Tour 250 series.
The women’s tournament actually started one year earlier, in 1989. It was originally called the Estoril Ladies Open and was a completely different event. However, this didn’t last long as it was stopped in 1990. However, in 1998 the tournament was restored and became part of the Estoril Open. It started off as an ITF tournament but after a year became a WTA tournament again. It is currently an International Series tournament. Despite being a great tournament linked to the men’s tournament, this has never had world number 1 winning the championship.
The men’s tournament has demonstrated the dominance of Spanish and Argentine players on red clay courts. Between its opening in 1990 until 2001 there has been a Spanish player in the final ten out of twelve times – winning nine out of those ten times. However, since 2001 they were overtaken by the Argentine players. Between 2002 and 2006, an Argentine player has won four out of five times.
Women haven’t been quite so consistent in terms of nationalities of winners. It has been far more diverse. In fact, since its beginnings, twelve of the seventeen nations that have won have represented a nation that hasn’t previously won the tournament. Having said that, when added up, Spain is still slightly more dominant, although not as noticeably as in the men’s tournament. The diversity of champions in the female tournament makes this a firm favourite for rising players to try to win their first title. In fact, since 1999, six players have used it to win their first title. In 2006 it offered audiences the first all-Chinese final.
Strangely, despite the tournament being Portuguese, no home advantage is obvious as only one Portuguese player in the tournament’s history has reached the final. Sadly, the Portugal Open closed its doors in 2014 due to lack of funding and re-opened its doors in 2015 as the Millennium Estoril Open.
Since it has been rebranded in 2015 and moved to the Club de Tenis do Estoril in Cascais, there have been 3 men’s tournaments. The first tournament managed to attract some top plyers, although no one ranked in the world’s top ten. The highest-ranking player in the tournament was Spanish player Feliciano Lopez who was ranked an impressive 12th. He was, unsurprisingly, top seed in the tournament. All in all, there were 8 players with world rankings seeded one to eight. As well as having a top seeded player, the Spanish also had third seed player Tommy Robredo. South African player Kevin Anderson was seeded number two.
Fourth seed was Argentine player Leonardo Mayer. Fifth and sixth seeds saw French players Richard Gasquet and Jeremy Chardy take their place. Australian player Nick Kyrgios was placed as seventh seed, and eighth seed was Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller. Three Portuguese players entered as wildcards; four players received entry from a qualifying draw and a Spanish player was a lucky loser. Despite the dominance of Spain previously, the title ended up being won by French player Gasquet with the runner up being seventh seeded Nick Kyrgios.
In 2016 we saw the Spanish dominance re-emerge. The top ranked player in attendance was Gilles Simon from France. Last year’s runner-up, Nick Kyrgios was seeded 2 and they were followed by Benoit Paire of France; Joao Sousa from Portugal; Spain’s Guillermo Garcia Lopez; Borno Coric from Croatia; Leonardo Mayer from Argentina and Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta – all seeded three to eight respectively. This tournament saw two Portuguese and one Spanish wildcard along with four players who received entry from the qualifying draw. The end saw victory for Spain’s Nicolas Almagro with his fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta coming in runner-up.
This tournament was held between 29 April and 7 May. The runner up in 2016, Pablo Carreno Busta came in at top seed in this tournament, followed by France’s previous champion Richard Gasquet; Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller; Spanish David Ferrer; Argentinian Juan Martin Del Potro; Portugal’s Joao Sousa; British entrant Kyle Edmund and France’s Benoit Paire – seeded two to eight respectively. This was another good year for Spain as top seed and last year’s runner up defeated third seeded Gilles Muller to win the Championship.