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Rothesay Classic Birmingham

Edgbaston Priory Club, Birmingham 2025 dates TBC

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History

2 MINUTE READ

The Rothesay Birmingham Classic is a 250-level women’s tennis tournament, held at the Edgbaston Priority Club in Birmingham. Having been held at this location since its inauguration in 1982, the event is played on grass courts during the lead up to the Wimbledon Championships and is considered a sister tournament to the men’s cinch Championships at Queen's Club.

Former Wimbledon Champion Billie Jean King and Edgbaston Priory’s homegrown talent, Ann Jones, take credit for establishing the tournament in 1982 – with an aim to create an event in the region for showcasing international talent. The Classic also offered an opportunity for the LTA to respond to and give effect to its campaign at the time to strengthen grassroots tennis in the country, both recreationally and competitively.

The tournament was brought in as part of the WTA tour, which King had developed since 1973 to challenge the unequal treatment of female professional tennis players and bring more opportunities for them to play. Many of the top female players flocked to contest the Birmingham title, with the inaugural tournament seeing Tracey Austin, Hana Mandilkova and Sue Barker join the order of play.

The title has been won ten times by Wimbledon singles champions, including the likes of Ash Bartey and Petra Kvitova, and often by rising stars. Like all tournaments, the Birmingham classic has lived through changes and challenges including the increasing demands of the tour on competitor and the interruption of the pandemic.

The Rothesay Birmingham Classic has become a major source of inspiration for tennis lovers, a testing ground for athletes, and a badge of pride for the Edgbaston Priory Club in the place where lawn tennis began.

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