BASTAD, Sweden - With six years on the WTA calendar, the Ericsson Open in Bastad certainly knows a thing or two about what it takes to put on a great event. And the players seem to agree, having voted the International-level event as the WTA Tournament Of The Year for three of the last four years.
So what makes a perfect tournament? We asked the Ericsson Open's top seeds and former champions - Angelique Kerber, Sara Errani, Johanna Larsson and Annika Beck - why they keep coming back to Bastad year after year. Here's what they had to say.
1. A priceless view.
The Ericsson Open is staged at the Bastad Tennis Stadium, just a few hundred yards from the popular Bastad Beach along the Kattegatt Sea. Having the coast within walking distance gives players (and fans) plenty of chances to unwind.
Kerber: Bastad is a really special tournament, especially because it's on the sea and for me the sea is really important; I grew up on the sea.
Beck: I've been here the last two years, so I've got good memories here. Especially if the weather is nice, you get some time off and you can go to the sea and relax and enjoy your time here.
2. Incredible, top-notch staff.
One common factor that all players highlighted was Bastad's top-notch and ultra-attentive staff.
Kerber: What is really important as well for players is that all the staff and the tournament director and everybody is so friendly. They are taking care of you, and this is why it really feels like home. That's why this tournament is one of the best tournaments of the calendar.
Barthel: All the people are really nice and friendly, always trying to make your time the best here. That's what you feel in all the details and I feel like home here.
Larsson: I think this tournament is absolutely amazing. It's been voted Tournament Of The Year because we deserve it! For the players it's obviously unbelievable because I think everyone in the staff is very friendly and always trying to help each and every player.
? Swedish Open Tennis (@swedish_open) July 18, 2016
3. Location, location, location.
What's more convenient than having the player hotel close to the tournament site? How about having it right behind center court?
Errani: For us, it's amazing. We can sleep right here and just walk to the courts and play. It's very easy for us. And it's amazing, the beach and everything. A bit cold, though, but amazing!
Larsson: You have the facilities that are top notch, you have the rooms here - I mean, the hotel is just next to the Center Court. It makes it very convenient for the players, I think that's a very good reason why we love this event.
4. An awesome crowd of fans.
Barthel: The stadium is really nice and the people watching are always nice. They're supporting you. I feel at home. You know, I have a special relationship to Sweden, so it makes it even more special for me here. I always love to come back here.
Beck: The crowd is amazing, the Center Court is beautiful. There's nothing to complain about in this tournament!
? Swedish Open Tennis (@swedish_open) July 19, 2016
- All photos courtesy of Ericsson Open