LTA outlines winter event schedule for elite players
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The LTA has set out its plans to create further competitive and earning opportunities for elite players this month with the introduction of two new events – the Wheelchair Team Battle and the LTA British Tour Masters.
In addition to the two new tournaments the 2021 UK Pro Series schedule has been announced and there’s an update around Britain’s next Billie Jean King Cup tie – read on to find out more.
Wheelchair Team Battle
The first event will be a wheelchair tournament from 15-17 December, providing the LTA’s Podium and Podium-potential players a chance to gain valuable match practice ahead of the 2021 season as they look towards the Paralympics later in the season.
Players will be split into one of two teams and will face off across the three days of singles and doubles action, within a team-based competition format. Matches will be scheduled by the LTA performance team and will feature a match tie-break in place of deciding sets. Teams will be allocated points for victories, with the team finishing with the highest number of points being crowned the champions. Additionally, matches will be broadcast live across the LTA web and social channels. Details of who will be competing within the teams will be announced shortly on the LTA’s channels.
LTA British Tour Masters
The second event will be the season-ending LTA British Tour Masters scheduled on two days from Friday 18 December to Saturday the 19th. During the summer, almost 300 matches for men and women were staged by the LTA across nine new ‘Return to Elite’ British Tour events at the National Tennis Centre to meet the competitive and financial needs of a wider pool of players. The Masters will showcase the top six men and the top six women in points earned across all British Tour events staged this year (24 in all), with two wild cards in each gender division. Currently the leaderboard’s top two points earners are Arthur Fery and Grace Piper. Each Masters champion will be competing for £3,000 first prize across the two-day event.
UK Pro Series
The LTA has been seeking to work with third parties with the intention of creating an increasingly comprehensive calendar. River Media, who this year ran the inaugural UK Pro Series, will stage nine additional combined domestic events for men and women in 2021. The first eight will act as qualifying tournaments in eight different venues, starting in February. These events run across the whole year, complementary to the LTA’s domestic calendar, culminating in a “Classic” week in early November, featuring the best male and female performers across the season.
Billie Jean King Cup
For fans of international women’s team tennis, the dates and venue of the forthcoming Billie Jean King Cup World Group qualifier tie against Mexico will be announced after confirmation of when the 2021 Australian Open will be taking place.
Finally, the LTA is currently working through the challenges of operating international ITF World Tennis Tour events as a result of the impact of Covid-19, travel restrictions and a changing Tour calendar. We will provide further updates on competitive opportunities when we are able to do so.