North West duo among strong British field competing in LTA’s new World Tennis Tour tournament at Bolton Arena.
Free entry to watch world-class tennis from 1-7 April
Liam & Naomi Broady hoping for success in home region
Laura Robson, Harriet Dart and Jack Draper also among Brits competing
New tournament being staged by LTA to provide more opportunities for British players to compete at home, and to open up tennis to fans around the country
Stockport’s Liam and Naomi Broady will be hoping for success on home soil next week as the LTA stages a new men’s and women’s World Tennis Tour event in the North West.
The Broadys are part of a strong British contingent taking on players from around the world on the indoor courts at the USN Bolton Arena, with the likes of Laura Robson, Harriet Dart and up-and-coming Jack Draper also competing from 1-7 April.
Both the men’s and the women’s events have a total prize money pot of $25,000, and are a part of the new ITF World Tennis Tour. The Bolton indoor event is part of an expanded international calendar of tournaments being staged by the LTA in Britain this year, providing a showcase for tennis outside of the traditional summer grass court season and opening up the sport to more fans around the country. The move also aligns with the LTA’s new long-term Performance Strategy with the aim being to provide more opportunities for British players to compete, earn ranking points and win prize money in this country.
British Davis Cup player Liam Broady will be among the favourites to take the Bolton men’s title, with the 25-year-old going into the tournament as the highest ranked player at 296 in the world.
Speaking ahead of the tournament, GB No.8 Broady said: “I’m really excited to be playing the new LTA tournament in Bolton. I’m thrilled to be playing a tournament on my doorstep and it would be great to have some local friends and fans come down and support myself and the other Brits over the course of the week. We’re keen to open up our sport to new fans throughout the year and this new tournament provides an opportunity to do just that.”
There will also be huge interest around 17-year-old Draper. The left-hander from Surrey sprung to prominence at Wimbledon last year in reaching the Boy’s Singles Final. Since then, Draper has been solely competing on the men’s professional circuit, and last year became the first 16 year old to break into the world’s top 1,000.
The entry list for the women’s event is particularly strong, with five current top 200 players including Great Britain’s Harriet Dart. Fresh from her involvement in Great Britain’s successful Fed Cup team back in February, the 22 year old reached a new career-high of 121 in the world earlier this year and will be looking to climb the rankings once again next week as she takes to the court.
Dart is joined in the draw by former British No.1 Laura Robson, who is competing in Bolton as part of her road to recovery from injury and will certainly be looking to use the event as a springboard to move back up the rankings. North West hopes in the women’s event lie with GB No.6 Naomi Broady and Cheshire’s Samantha Murray.
The USN Bolton Arena has successfully staged an annual international professional wheelchair tennis event in recent years, and also regularly hosts junior competitions – Jack Draper competed there in 2015 at a 14&U Tennis Europe event. However, next week will be the first time the venue’s world-class facilities have staged a professional men’s or women’s tournament since 2004, when a 17-year-old Andy Murray competed and future Grand Slam finalist Marcos Baghdatis won the title.
Richard Joyner, the LTA’s Tournament Director for the event, commented:
“We are delighted to be bringing international tennis to Bolton as part of our work to open up tennis to more people. While Wimbledon naturally always gets a lot of attention, tennis is played all year round and staging a new tournament such as this, is a great way of showcasing that. With free entry throughout the week we’d encourage any local sports fans to come and take the opportunity to back the Brits and witness some great tennis on their doorstep. We have a really strong line-up in both the women’s and the men’s fields and it’s a great opportunity to see some future stars in the making!”
Qualifying is scheduled for Monday 1 April, with main draw starting on Tuesday 2 April. Both singles finals are scheduled for Sunday 7 April, with the doubles finals scheduled for Saturday.
Entry for spectators is free of charge throughout the week. Play will commence from 10am – 7pm from Tuesday 2nd April onwards. Live scoring will be available on the LTA website at www.lta.org.uk/gbps and the tournament will be live streamed from 1st April on http://live.itftennis.com/en/live-streams/.
The full updated entry list & order of play can be found at:
The Junior International Bolton, held here at USN Bolton Arena will take place from Friday 11th – Friday 18th January, the tournament will see junior’s aged 14 & under converging on the north-west from all over the world.
The event, which is steeped in history, regularly attracts stars of the future. 2017 saw tennis legend Bjorn Borg in Bolton, overseeing his son Leo progress to the consolation singles finals. 2017 also saw a 12 year old Cori Gauff, capture the title, before remarkably going on to reach the final of the US Open Junior event 8 months later. Whilst Whitney Osuigwe, who played Bolton in 2015 became world junior number 1, 2 years later.
On the boy’s side the 13 year old 2012 finalists, Francis Tiafoe and Michael Mmoh, are now ranked 44 and 102 in the ATP men’s pro ranking’s, whilst top seed in 2015 was Britain’s Jack Draper, who reached the Junior Wimbledon Boy’s Singles final this year, and is already inside the world’s top 500 at pro level aged only 16
Since the inaugural event as Teen Tennis in 1995, it has attracted a very strong field of rising stars from across the globe. A number of previous players having gone on to reach the world’s top 10 including Eugenie Bouchard, Caroline Wozniacki, Justine Henin, Kim Clijsters, Sir Andy Murray, Marcos Baghdatis, and Tomas Berdych. In addition, Bolton runner up in 2011 Jelena Ostapenko, sensationally won the French Open in 2017, to become the world number 7.
Richard Joyner, Tournament Director, commented ‘This event really is where history and the future meet. The number of players who have gone on to reach the higher echelons of the pro game is seriously impressive. As well as the wealth of players from across the globe, it’s a great opportunity for player’s from the north-west, including some who train at the USN Bolton Arena, to compete against some of the world’s best 14&under players’.
Qualifying is Friday 11th and Saturday 12th January, with main draw Sunday 13th to Friday 18th January.
Entry for spectators is free of charge throughout the week.
As well as coming along to watch, the scores can be followed through: