Women’s tennis takes centre court in latest post-lockdown tournament

Credit: LTA - Getty Images

Following in the footsteps of Jamie Murray’s ‘Battle of the Brits’ event, Britain’s top female tennis players will compete in the Progress Tour Women’s Championships from 14 – 18 July at the Lawn Tennis Association’s (LTA) National Tennis Centre (NTC) in London.

The event was created through a collaboration between WTA-ranked British players Olivia Nicholls and Alicia Barnett, former ATP ranked player and now tournament director of The Progress Tour, Barry Fulcher, and long-term women’s tennis supporter Terry Oakes. The tournament is also supported and hosted by the LTA, however, it will still be regarded as an independent event. 

Barry Fulcher stated: “We are excited to present this brand new event to celebrate the best of British Women’s tennis.

“This is an event for players, by players, giving the top British women the much-needed opportunity to get back to competition and also to begin earning again via the prize-money we’ve managed to raise. 

“It’s been fantastic to work alongside two passionate players in Olivia and Alicia and to be able to host the event at the National Tennis Centre, thanks to the LTA’s support.” 

Already signed up for the competition, which has a minimum £30,000 prize pool, include British No.3 Harriet Dart, Naomi Broady, Samantha Murray, Jodie Burrage and Emma Raducanu, with more names to be announced in the coming weeks.

Scott Lloyd, LTA Chief Executive, continued: “We are very pleased to be hosting the Progress Tour Women’s Championships and helping to provide another opportunity for British players to compete safely during these exceptional circumstances. 

“This event forms part of a coordinated plan for the return of elite tennis competition and, alongside Jamie Murray’s ‘Battle of the Brits’ and LTA British Tour tournaments, it is a significant part of what will be a very exciting summer of tennis. 

“We have already seen a huge demand for tennis since the adjustment of lockdown restrictions, and we hope this calendar of events will inspire even more people to get on court. We will work with Barry and the Progress Tour team to undertake the necessary preparations and risk assessments ahead of the tournament.”

The Progress Tour Women’s Championships will take place over five days in a round robin format, similar to the World Tour Finals, with 16 WTA players split into two tiers – Premier event & Division 1 –  before battling through to the knockout semi-final stage. Moreover the event will abide by government guidelines and adhere to social distancing regulations. 

Nicholls concluded: “Domestic events are exactly what we as players need during this time. It gives us an end goal, something to train towards, as well as an opportunity to earn good prize money. The Tevent will be a great way to celebrate women’s tennis at the highest level and is great preparation for when we return to playing on the international circuit again.”