The second tour level event of France, the Open 13 will enter its 26th edition this year. Held at the indoor hard courts of Palais des sports de Marseille, this tournament has 250 points to offer to the victor. The event has enjoyed a good run since the past 25 years and has been the host to many crucial moments in tennis’ history.
When Jean-Francois Caujolle entered the tennis circuit, he did manage to break into the Top 100. The southpaw Frenchman won two titles in his career. The first came on the carpet courts of Copenhagen in 1976 followed by the 1977 Gstaad Open played on clay.
Caujolle’s career as a professional tennis player ceased in 1981 and he became a full time coach at the Marseille tennis camp. But it was in 1993 when the biggest stint of his tennis career came to light. Under his direction, the Open 13 held at Marseille each year in the month of February is till date one of the most successful events on the ATP Tour.
Significance of the “13”
The Bouches-du-Rhone is one of the administrative departments in southern France. Every such department is given an INSEE code or a postal code. Marseille is the capital of the Bouches-du-Rhone whose INSEE (National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies) code is 13. Thus, the nomenclature of the tournament has the inclusion of number “13.”
Open 13 over the years
When it was first held, Swiss man Marc Rosset won the inaugral event in 1993 and successfully defended his crown the following year. He won it again for the third time six years later in 2000 where he defeated a young Roger Federer who was playing his first tour level final. The match was also the first ATP event which saw a Swiss pitted against a Swiss in a final match.
In 1995, Boris Becker won his 43rd career title at this event.
Frenchmen hold the distinction for winning the Marseille event most number of times in both singles (9) and doubles (11). It was Guy Forget who began the trail back in 1996 for France.
Former World No.4 Thomas Enqvist has a joint record of winning a record three titles(1997,1998,2002) at Marseille. The two other players who have won three titles each are Marc Rosset and Jo-Wilfred Tsonga.
In 2003, Roger Federer won the 5th of his so-far 96 career titles at Marseille in his second final at the event.
Defending champion Jo-Wilfred Tsonga won the event in 2017 for the third time but has pulled out of the 2018 edition due to a muscle tear. David Goffin is the top seed in this year’s event followed by Stan Wawrinka, Tomas Berdych, Lucas Pouille, Roberta Bautista Agut and Gilles Muller.
The tournament has a little over $800,000 to hand out to the winner.