- How would you describe İstanbul Challenger in Turkish tennis history? 

A lot of events are organised in our country but unfortunately they are held once or mostly twice. It has been 69 years now that Istanbul Challenger is being held. The best players of world’s tennis era have played in this tournament. It’s never been cancelled. Except for Cyprus Peace Operation, due to the war in Turkey and the planes not having been able to take off, the players couldn’t come to our country, the event wasn’t cancelled but only Balkan players could have participated. 

In 2000, we faced another difficulty when our main sponsor withdrew from the tournament. I, myself wrote a letter to our members saying that this event has always been one of our trade marks and it should be supported… Then a miracle happened and with the help of each and almost every member of our club, we managed to organise the tournament.

In 2003, Istanbul Challenger was awarded the best challenger in the world and the award was given to us by Roger Federer. I met him during that ceremony and he deserves every good comment made about him. 

- So we can say Istanbul Challenger will never stop getting awards…

Last year we received The ATP Challenger Award in O2 Arena London for being the longest Challenger ever organised. Nowadays people think Challengers are very important as they are great tools for future stars. That’s why the rules have changed this year.

Hospitality is mandatory from this year on. So we arranged that and having been in cooperation with Fuat Pasa Yalısı Hotel, it is our official hotel this year as well. We, as TED Club and the tournament organisation, decide to serve lunch for the players although we are not obliged to.

I will personally invite all of our members to this very important event as they will be able to watch very good tennis players in ATP World Tour-6 of who are in top 100- and it is also important for the existing sponsors as well as the potential ones.
Last year the tournament was during our religious holiday but the attendance was fairly well under the circumstances. This year it is right after the same holiday so we are hoping to welcome more audience to enjoy this great event.  

- How do the sponsors contribute and support this event?

First of all I would like to thank all of our sponsors. We belive that long term cooperation will help us become more successful every year.

It is a fact that the impact of the sponsors on media is more than the clubs. But one of the most important problem in Turkey is that the sponsors ignore this impact and they want the agencies or the clubs do the marketing which is not as effective as it should be. Another very important support comes from Turkish Tennis Federation and I would like to thank the president and all the members of the board.

This year we attended the Challenger meeting in Braunschweig, Germany. We watched very good matches in Sparkkassen Open which received the Best Challenger Award last year.

The environment which was full of tennis spectators of the village was great. The club located in the middle of a forest was founded in 1901. The event was advertised as “The tournament which combines tennis and night life.” And it really did. Our center court is for 3500 people. Theirs is 1500. From this year on, we will be doing whatever we have experienced there as well as ATP’s recommendations in order to get another award for our tournament. We definitely have a target but it is a fact that sponsor support is essential. We are hoping to have more sponsors next year who will be willing to market the tournament in cooperation with our organisation team.