Dart, Boulter and Watson join Stosur in Viking Classic Birmingham Main Draw
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Britons Harriet Dart, Katie Boulter and Heather Watson have joined the all-star line-up for this year’s Viking Classic Birmingham, which begins on Monday 14 June at the Edgbaston Priory Club.
Watson moved into the Main Draw on her WTA world ranking of 71, while Dart and Boulter have been awarded wildcards alongside 2011 US Open champion Samantha Stosur of Australia. Australian Stosur, who was also a runner-up at Roland Garros in 2010 and has been ranked as high as No.4 in singles and No.1 in doubles, is making her tennis comeback after an extended break due to a heel injury.
This year’s Viking Classic Birmingham is marking its return to the sporting calendar with a stellar entry list including British No.1 Johanna Konta, top seed and World No.15 Elise Mertens, and 2017 Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko. Former Viking Classic Birmingham runner-up Donna Vekic, who reached the final aged just 17 in 2013, will join exciting rising Canadian star Leylah Fernandez and talented Tunisian Ons Jabeur, who comes to Birmingham fresh from reaching the quarter-finals at Roland Garros.
Dart and Boulter are all part of the LTA Pro Scholarship Programme (PSP) which is the highest level of coaching, medical and financial support offered to developing players by the national governing body. It is offered to players aged between 16 and 24 with the best chance of reaching the ATP/WTA top 100 singles within five years.
The Viking Classic Birmingham is returning after a two-year hiatus following the cancellation of last year’s grass court summer events, including Wimbledon.
Harriet Dart said: “I think we’ve all dreamed of playing in front of a British crowd again so I’m really grateful for the chance to compete in front of them again in Birmingham and challenge myself against some of the best players in the world. I can’t wait to get out there.”
Iain Bates, LTA Head of Women’s Tennis, said: “We are pleased to have such a strong line-up of British players in Birmingham and to provide Harriet and Katie with another opportunity to play Tour-level matches on home soil and build on their performances on grass at the Viking Open in Nottingham. Putting these tournaments on has not been easy given the circumstances so I’d like to thank the LTA Events team and all those involved in making these tournaments happen for giving our players and players from around the world the chance to compete again.”
Britons Fran Jones, Naiktha Bains, Eden Silva and Tara Moore have been awarded wildcards into the qualifying rounds, which begin on Saturday.
Tennis fans will be able to watch the Viking Classic Birmingham WTA event on the BBC’s Red Button and the LTA’s own channels.
History will be made at this year’s Viking Classic Birmingham when it also hosts the first British women’s professional wheelchair tennis event ever to be held outside of Wimbledon. Five of the world’s Top 10 women’s wheelchair players are among those competing for the title, including Birmingham’s Jordanne Whiley, who is ranked No.4 in the world.