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“Ain’t No Party Like a Linz Player Party:” A Retrospective

As the year draws to a close, the WTA stops in one of its last remaining indoor strongholds – Linz. The second largest city in Austria has held a WTA tournament since 1991 and many illustrious names are amongst its list of winners (e.g. Pierce, Davenport, Henin, Sharapova, Ivanovic, Kvitova, Azarenka.. and – imagine Pam Shriver saying this – WICKmayer). Over the last two days, event manager Sandra Reichel had to deal with quite the blow when her two big stars – Ivanovic and Bouchard – withdrew after the first round, presumably to get healthy in time for the WTA Finals in Singapore.

With the WTA Finals and the Tournament of Champions both moving/having moved to Asia, the last three events (Linz, Moscow and Luxembourg) of the once major European indoor autumn swing are going to be fighting an uphill battle. Most of the Top 20 players will not be interested in traveling back and forth between Asia and Europe for a tournament or two.

But there is one significant reason why the Generali Ladies Open must survive the current WTAsia-fication of women’s tennis: the Linz player party. Over the last couple of years, Linz has come up with the goods when it comes to uber-dorky themes, and most of the WTA players attending play the part. Here is a look back at some of the best pictures from the last few years in Linz:

2006-2007: “EVERYONE GETS A ROSE” AKA Linz does “The Bachelor”

Linz2006

L to R: Ai Sugiyama, Ana Ivanovic in a blue monstrosity, Chanda Rubin, Maria Sharapova, Patty Schnyder, Jelena Jankovic

We miss you, Ai. We miss you, too, Patty. What was Chanda Rubin doing in Linz in 2006? And WHAT was Ana Ivanovic wearing?
In 2007, things got a little more formal. And everyone got a bottle of wine. Except for Tatiana “Tati” Golovin.

     

I mean… priceless.

2008-2010: DIRNDL-UP

szavay2008  petrova2008  ivanovic2008

Oh Agnes. Oh Nadia. Oh Ana. This is why Linz is the best.

2009 followed dirndl suit and delivered more of the same.

Alexandra Dulgheru showed off her moves.

More gingerbread hearts.

And Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (aka Beezus) got a special surprise from a singer.

In 2010 organizers kept with the theme because it was such a success the last two times:

The obligatory group shot

The obligatory group shot

Zahlavova Strycova was likely still emotionally scarred from the previous player party. Anastasia Rodionova is to her left and then-player/now-commentator Anne Keothavong to her right.

Andrea Petkovic and Julia Goerges

2011: Rouge is all the rage

After years of Dirndls, the tournament director decided to go ALL Red. A year later Taylor Swift released her most successful album to date, “Red”.

Coincidence? I think not.

Grass-GOATs Sabine Lisicki and Tamira Paszek united (tennisnet.com)

Fed-Cup BFFs Lucie Safarova and Petra Kvitova (tennisnet.com)

2012: BIKER BABES

After a classier theme, Linz brought back the dork-factor with a vengeance and equipped the women with sparkly hats, leather jackets, a motor bike and a slot racing track. Never change, Linz. Two years later everyone wears biker jackets in autumn.

Coincidence? I think not.

Oh, Daniela (tennisnet.com).

“I’m on a motorbike! Oh my God, wow, me!” ~Alizé Cornet #quotememaybe (tennisnet.com)

2013: That 70s Flower-Power episode

The prior parties did throw in a number or winners in terms of pictures from the Linz players parties. But nothing could have prepared anyone for what was to come in 2013. Nothing. See for yourselves:

      sloanelinz

Oh Sorana. Sloane was probably there to bring the message of world peace or .. whatever. (WTA Linz Facebook)

#romaniaforever (WTA Linz Facebook)

“They dragged me here, gave me a wildcard and all I got was this lousy plastic guitar” (WTA Linz Facebook)

Ivanovic and Flipkens. I mean… (tennisnet.com)

2014: A night at the ballet

After the 70s madness of 2013, this week’s edition of the WTA tournament in Linz had less emphasis on the crazy and more on grace. Allegedly.

#namethatpliskova (wtatennis.com)

“Do you like my Ballet-swag?” (wtatennis.com)

“Why did they put me into a tutu? Me? I listen to Bon Iver and stuff!” #quotememaybe (wtatennis.com)

And this is why Linz needs to last. Any other questions? No? Thought so.

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About René Denfeld (202 Articles)
Weather is my business. Tennis is my playground. Born in the year of the Golden Slam. Just give me all the bacon and eggs you have.

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