The German Masters is a new tournament but not the first ranking event staged in Germany. In fact, it will be the fourth.
The first German Open was staged in Frankfurt in 1995 and won by John Higgins, who also captured the title in Bingen in 1997. Ronnie O’Sullivan won in Osnabruck in 1996.
In 1998, the German Masters reverted to invitation status and was won by John Parrott.
In recent years popularity in Germany has rocketed, due mainly to television coverage of the game’s major events on Eurosport.
German Eurosport’s chief commentator Rolf Kalb – who will be the MC in Berlin – has been the country’s leading snooker evangelist for many years, introducing and explaining the game to a multitude of new viewers.
Despite the interest, the previous WPBSA board were either unable or unwilling to get an event on in Germany.
The World Series went there and the atmosphere for their event was superb.
Tickets have sold well for this new event and it should be a terrific atmosphere at the Berlin Tempodrom, where the five tables are arranged in a unique circular arena.
It’s a great field of players featuring the top 16, several established qualifiers such as Matthew Stevens, Stephen Lee, Ryan Day, Marco Fu, Dominic Dale and Anthony Hamilton as well as first season professionals Jack Lisowski, Anthony McGill [the subject of the returning Big Interview feature on this blog tomorrow] and Thanawat Tirapongpaiboon.
There are also eight European wildcards, including 15 year-old Belgian wonderkid Luca Brecel and Daniel Wells, who came within a frame of qualifying for the Crucible two years ago.
The German Masters lasts only five days and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t. The only reason, say, the UK Championship is nine days long is so that the BBC can have live sport on consecutive weekends.
Years ago the Welsh Open was only five days long and it meant there was always something happening, wherever you looked.
Eurosport times vary depending on where you live. On British Eurosport coverage is wall-to-wall, starting with Wednesday evening’s session.
Germany is an important market for snooker. The popularity of the game there is apparent from the way exhibitions and small tournaments have been supported for the last few years.
But what German snooker fans want is a big tournament, and now they have one.