Wet start for Båstad Open

Sweden’s prestigious tennis tournament, the Båstad Open, starts today. Some 20,000 visitors are expected for the week-long competition, which has been held annually in the small town in southern Sweden since 1948.

It’s been seven years since a Swede last won the championship title, when Magnus Norman took his second Båstad top prize.

This year, Robin Söderling and Jonas Björkman are the two Swedish favourites, fresh from their controversial Wimbledon campaigns.

Söderling took eventual runner-up and world number 2 Rafael Nadal to a five-set epic match played over five days, before criticising the Spaniard in a press conference.

Björkman was fined after ranting at the umpire during his fourth round defeat to Tomas Berdych. He reached the mixed-doubles final at Wimbledon with Alicia Molik, but lost to Jamie Murray and Jelena Jankovic.

Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the Båstad open, but plenty of top players will be there, including reigning champion from Spain, Tommy Robredo, and Italy’s Filippo Volandri. US $76,000 awaits the winner.

The Open has had no women’s singles or doubles competitions since 1990.

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