Three Must-Visit UK Tennis Tournaments
The British summertime is synonymous with tennis, and the mere mention of strawberries and cream will conjure up images of the picturesque surrounds of SW19. Wimbledon is undoubtedly one the most high-profile events on the sporting calendar, but there are also a number of lesser tournaments taking place across the United Kingdom. These underrated competitions tend to deliver plenty of entertainment for a fraction of the cost, and are undoubtedly worth a visit. We take a look at some of these alternative events.
Ilkley is one of West Yorkshire’s most popular destinations, and is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque places to enjoy competitive racket sports. This tournament may not attract a flurry of household names, but it still showcases several high-quality matches. The field often comprises of a mix of up-and-coming talent competing alongside players who are returning from injury. Recent Wimbledon winners Harriett Dart and Katie Swan are examples of young British players who often cut their teeth at this tournament. Previous winners include Sergiy Stakhovsky and Monica Niculescu.
With nearby attractions such as Ilkley Pool and Lido and the Yorkshire Dales, there are plenty of reasons to visit this scenic part of the world each June, and tennis fans tend to return to this tournament time and time again.
Nature Valley Classic, Birmingham
Whilst the Ilkley Challenger is a relatively new addition to the calendar, the Nature Valley Classic is firmly established, and positions itself the perfect warm-up event for the third Grand Slam of the year. Held in the leafy suburb of Edgbaston, this tournament always attracts a high-quality field as players look to refine their grass-court game ahead of a trip to West London.
A number of household names have been victorious at this tournament including Maria Sharapova, Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber. The latter is always a formidable force in the UK, and the Bremen-born Grand Slam champion is currently 10/1 in the latest Wimbledon odds to make it back-to-back titles.
Around a 30-minute stroll from Birmingham City Centre, visitors will find ample accommodation in the nearby vicinity, and the venue itself is exceptionally well maintained. Extra seating has been added over the last couple of years, and attendances tend to remain high throughout the week. The Nature Valley Classic occasionally flies under the radar, but it offers a chance to see some of the most talented players on the WTA Tour completing their warm-ups ahead of Wimbledon.
The Surbiton Trophy is always extremely well attended, and is the ideal tournament for those who have failed to get their hands of Wimbledon tickets. It prides itself on offering an up close and friendly atmosphere, and tickets are relatively straightforward to obtain. It is similar to the Ilkley Challenger as it attracts a decent calibre of competitor which usually includes plenty of British hopefuls. With £100,000 of prize money available, players do not tend to arrive in Surbiton for a quick knock-about in the sun.
In 2019, Dan Evans beat Viktor Troicki in straight sets, and was helped by a partisan British crowd, who pledged their full support to the 29-year-old throughout the contest.
British tennis fans may have to remain patient until the summer months, but it is undoubtedly worth the wait. There are many high-quality tournaments taking place throughout July, and you definitely won’t have to camp out overnight in order to make it through the gates.