LTA unveils Domestic Competition plans as part of return to Tennis
• 3 MINUTE READ
The LTA can today confirm a series of events for professional players to start in early July, subject to confirmation of Government requirements, which will enable professional players to make a safe return to competitive tennis under the new restrictions.
Throughout this process, the LTA has been working closely with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), UK Sport and other sports governing bodies in carefully planning the return to training for elite level athletes. The LTA remains in close consultation with the ATP, WTA and the ITF regarding the future of international events this year, following the suspension of the professional Tours. The LTA has also developed plans for further enhanced domestic playing opportunities beyond August – should the international suspension period be extended further.
The first swing of four new British Tour events will take place over consecutive weeks from 3-26 July. All four tournaments will all staged at the LTA’s National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, which has already been approved as an elite training venue and will continue as such during this time. This will allow the organisation time to develop appropriate guidelines for other venues.
Each of these events will host 32 singles players (16 men and 16 women) open to the highest ranked players with an LTA Membership number who wish to enter. The tournaments will generally be held over three days: Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with a one day doubles-only event for eight teams played under FAST4 format at each Premier stop.
Additionally, the LTA has increased total prize money at each tournament by 50% and for the first time ever at British Tour events, all players from the first round onwards will receive prize money to help support the incomes and expenses from a wider base of players during this challenging time.
There will be two Premier-level events (in week two and four), each offering over £16,000 in total prize money, with the singles champions receiving £2,250. A ‘Tier 1’ event held in the first and third weeks: (July 3-5 and 18-19). The LTA will soon confirm other dates and venues to host British Tour events through to the end of August.
Scott Lloyd, LTA Chief Executive, said: “Since the coronavirus crisis, we have been working incredibly hard to support all our players, venues, coaches and officials through this very challenging time. I’m delighted to announce today the next stage of elite tennis’ return to competing safely behind closed doors as part of a five-phase plan coordinated by UK Sport with Government. The LTA is actively engaged in developing the necessary guidelines for behind closed doors events, which we hope will be determined by the Government in the coming weeks to ensure the safest environment for anyone involved in returning to competition and look forward to bringing tennis back into people’s lives this summer.”