Michael Stich, winner of last year’s Vale do Lobo Grand Champions tennis tournament, has announced his intention to defend his title this year. Speaking as he was awarded last year’s trophy, Stich commented: “I have never been able to successfully defend a title during my entire career.” But now Stich has become the second big name – alongside Frenchman Yannick Noah – to confirm his participation at the event that will be staged at the Vale do Lobo tennis academy between August 3 and 6.
Tournament organiser, Pedro Frazão, welcomed Stich’s return: “It’s important for any tournament that its reigning champion defends his title. At last year’s tournament, we also had John McEnroe, who won in 2002. In addition, Stich is a big attraction for the Algarve’s German market, which is important to tourism in Vale do Lobo and in the Algarve. Finally, he’s one of the players at the peak of his form at the moment.” Last year’s final saw 35-year-old Stich, whose game is considered to be one of the most accomplished of all current circuit veterans, beat John McEnroe 6-4, 6-0. The Grand Champions tournament is part of the senior veterans’ Delta ATP Tour of Champions.