The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) has announced plans to improve the British summer grass court season by upgrading and changing pre-existing tournaments, including significant changes to the events in the city of Nottingham.
A Revamped British Summer Grass Court Season
From 2017, the current ATP World Tour 250 Aegon Open Nottingham event will be moved back to Eastbourne, meaning that the current ATP 250 event will take place for the last time this year from the 18th-25th of June, featuring British stars Kyle Edmund, James Ward and Dan Evans.
In the plans for the new 2017 calendar, the LTA, in partnership with the Nottingham City Council will stage one week of tennis events from the 19th to the 25th of June, the week before the Aegon Championships at The Queen’s Club.
Two tournaments will run simultaneously, including the women’s $250,000 WTA International Aegon Open, which features Victoria Azarenka and Madison Keys in 2016, and the new men’s $100,000 ATP Challenger Tour event. As a result this will allow the city’s fans to see men’s and women’s tour-level tennis in the same week for the first time since 1973.
The LTA And Aegon Are Delighted With The Changes
The LTA CEO Michael Downey had to this say on the LTA’s website regarding the announcement of the grass court season changes: “This is all about delivering a bigger and better set of grass court tournaments for the players and our fans. It represents another major step in the evolution of the British grass court circuit.
“Ultimately, we want to jump-start the important summer season of participation by trying to "own the month of June" with an extensive and high quality series of Major Tennis Events to help inspire more people to pick up a racket and play tennis. At the same time, this new look calendar will help optimize the players’ preparation for competing in the world's premier tennis tournament, The Championships, Wimbledon.”
Nottingham Tournament Director, Rebecca James said on the LTA’s website: “The player field this year shows that the tournament is growing in reputation after a great first year in 2015, I am excited at the prospect of some great tennis and I can’t wait to welcome everyone to Nottingham.”
Tara McGregor-Woodhams, Head of Brand and Sponsorship Aegon UK also commented on the LTA’s website: “The Aegon Open Nottingham was a fantastic addition to the grass court calendar last year and we are delighted to welcome many stars from the WTA tour back to the city to begin their grass court preparations.”
These changes will provide athletes, fans, sponsors and broadcasters a better opportunity to showcase the sport, creating a week’s tennis festival in Nottingham, as opposed to two disjointed tournaments which ran close to the beginning of Wimbledon, thus detracting the biggest stars. The LTA also hopes that this will help to boost its strategy to get people playing tennis more often in the UK.