‘Friday Pride Days’ to return to summer tennis events to celebrate Pride Month
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We have announced the return of ‘Friday Pride Days’ as part of our continued efforts to raise awareness of LGBTQ+ inclusion this Pride Month.
After the success of last year’s events across the grass court summer, Friday Pride Day events will form a cornerstone of our celebrations of LGBTQ+ inclusion in tennis in 2023. The days will put Pride front and centre, in order to show that tennis events, and the sport as a whole, are safe, open and inclusive spaces, breaking down barriers so that everyone can feel welcomed and accepted, no matter their sexuality or gender identity. The Progress Pride flag will fly above centre courts across our events, while officials and ball kids will wear rainbow laces and wristbands on-court. For the first time this year, after agreement with the ATP, WTA and ITF, we are bringing more colour courtside, with umpires' chairs being decked with colour to support the days and give even more visibility to Pride.
Friday Pride Day events will take place at the Rothesay Open Nottingham (Friday 16 June), Rothesay Classic Birmingham (Friday 23 June), cinch Championships at The Queen’s Club (Friday 23 June) and Rothesay International Eastbourne (Friday 30 June), with the Lexus Surbiton Trophy and Lexus Ilkley Trophy also showing their support for the Pride movement this month. As well as at events during Pride Month, on Friday the 4 of August, the LTA will also be bringing Friday Pride Day to the British Open wheelchair competition, taking place at the Nottingham Tennis Centre from the 1-6 of August. We would like to see as many fans as possible attending on these days dress in bright clothes and accessories to show support for the celebrations.
Lucy Shuker, British women’s wheelchair number one and world number ten, said, “It’s great that the LTA are celebrating Pride again this year, especially at its major events. It’s so important for the LGBTQ+ community to know that they can feel welcome in tennis; whether it’s coming along to watch some of the world’s best players or getting on court themselves, you can feel part of this wonderful sport and community.”
We are proud to continue working with Pride in Tennis, the LGBTQ+ network for tennis in Britain. Pride in Tennis will be present at all our Friday Pride Days where their volunteers will be on-site to raise awareness and answer any questions fans have about the Pride movement, how they can form connections with local LGBTQ+ inclusive tennis groups and venues, and what they can do to show their support as allies of LGBTQ+ communities.
Ian Pearson-Brown and James Swanson, Co-Chairs of the Pride in Tennis network, said “We’re delighted the LTA is continuing its commitment to putting LGBTQ+ inclusion firmly in the spotlight. These grass court events are among the highlights of the British sporting summer and the international tennis calendar and provide a brilliant opportunity to showcase the work we are doing in partnership with the LTA to ensure tennis in Britain is safe and inclusive for all LGBTQ+ players, fans, volunteers, and officials.”
Along with Friday Pride Days, throughout June, the LTA and Pride in Tennis are showcasing tennis in LGBTQ+ communities across Britain, and the people who are working to help make tennis more open and accessible to LGBTQ+ players. This forms a key goal of the LTA’s inclusion strategy to break down barriers and increase participation in tennis across Britain.
Dave Hardman, Inclusion Development Manager at the LTA, believes it’s important to promote the work people are doing year-round, as well as the Friday Pride Days: “Our Friday Pride Days are a brilliant way of informing as many people as possible that tennis is a welcoming environment for those in LGBTQ+ communities. Alongside major events, it is also vital to highlight the incredible work that is going on across the country year-round to provide spaces where players from LGBTQ+ communities can be their authentic selves. The work taking place around inclusion and LGBTQ+ allyship is important to share and is crucial to our vision of Tennis Opened Up.”