Archived News

Roland Iten for Mutua Madrid Open

April 29th, 2011

The winner of the tenth edition of the Mutua Madrid Open which commences on the 29th April 2011, will have the honour to lift, for the first time in tennis history, the most complicated trophy ever made. The "Ion Tiriac Trophy"-- expressly created and designed by Roland Iten.

In Ion Tiriac's view, the Madrid Open is different to every tournament in the world, and therefore, on the celebration of its 10th anniversary this year, he wanted a trophy designed, that could be dedicated to the event from this year forward, and that would also be different than any other trophy in the world. Its no wonder therefore, that Monty Shadow, the "truffel-nase" of The Richemont Group would team him up with Roland Iten-- the man who invented the "world's most complex" mechanical belt buckle and has brought to the world other unusual and practical mechanically performing objects.

The initial meeting took place at The Art Masters in St. Moritz in 2008-- an event created and hosted once per year by Mr. Shadow, and attended by hand-picked influencers in the arts and luxury world. The brief given was precise and ambitious, just like the master of tennis himself. Said Mr. Tiriac to Mr. Iten: "Create a trophy like no other, and one which honours every tennis player who ever made history in the game".

To begin the creation process, Roland took off to Spain for inspiration. He rented a castle high in the hills of Catalana and began sketching. In the same small village was a winery where Roland discovered a magnificant Spanish wine called "Scala Dei" -- literal translation-- Stairway to Heaven. The concept of the staircase to heaven fascinated Roland and became his inspiration for the trophy design and remains today its "unofficial" name. Said Roland Iten: I needed to find a design solution which honoured all the tennis greats equally. Winning a grand slam in 1970 involved a different skill set than it does today, not better or worse, just different. And each of the tennis players that have made history in the sport, from McEnroe to Williams, from Federer to Nadal, and to Margaret Smith herself, possess their own individual skill and style. So I created a small column, and I wrapped around it small tennis rackets, each racket inscribed with the name of the individual players who have won the most grand slams of all time. The 32 rackets comprise the "staircase" and each step is as important as the other, because if one step is missing, the staircase is incomplete".

The "one of a kind" trophy is the result of over 12 months of design and collaboration. Continued Roland " The manufacture of the trophy has been expertly executed by Wempe Atelier in Germany. My heartfelt thanks and congratulations is extended to this team which has meticulously replicated, down to every last fine detail, the complex design which I created".

The "piece unique" arrived in Madrid last week and was launched at a press conference at Wempe Jewellers on the 7th April 2011. Until the start of the tournament on the 29th April, it will be on exhibition in the window of Wempe in Serrano Street, Madrid. It is comprised of 96 individual, hand-finished components in 6.5 kg of solid rose gold and stands 430mm high. Its total weight is 7.5 kg and is set with 33 TW VVS 1 diamonds (10.9 carats) making it the most expensive trophy ever created for any sport.

On the top of the trophy is a tennis ball in honour of Ion Tiriac, a relentless advocate of the sport and the base of the trophy is a black obsidian "globe", with the continents represented in plates of solid gold. One solitaire diamond marks Madrid and the globe is supported by 10 columns symbolising the world's ten most important championships.

In addition to lifting this masterpiece for the first time at the Mutua Madrid Open, its winner will take home a silver replica of approximately 3 kilos and 330mm high.

When Roland Iten was asked at the press conference on the 7th April, "what is your favourite aspect of the trophy" he responded: "I am happy that it honours among other tennis players, the great Roger Federer, who received another sort of 'trophy' designed by myself upon winning the Laureus for the 4th time in row in 2008-- a geniune, authentic Roland Iten Mark I Mechanical belt buckle in solid white gold".