British Tour heralds return of elite-level tennis in UK

LONDON (Reuters) – A series of professional tennis events will take place in Britain from early July as the sport continues to emerge from the shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) said four British Tour events would be held between July 3-26, subject to confirmation of government requirements.

“Since the coronavirus crisis, we have been working incredibly hard to support all our players, venues, coaches and officials through this very challenging time,” LTA chief executive Scott Lloyd said in a statement.

“I’m delighted to announce today the next stage of elite tennis’s return to competing safely behind closed doors as part of a five-phase plan coordinated by UK Sport with Government.”

Recreational tennis has already resumed with clubs allowed to open under strict health protocols.

The British Tour events will all be staged over three days at the LTA’s National Tennis Centre in Roehampton with each event hosting 32 singles players (16 men and 16 women) with eligibility based on rankings.

Two of the events will be ‘Premier-level’ each offering over 16,000 pounds ($19,750) in total prize money.

More tournaments could be held in August if the international suspension period is extended further.

No professional tournaments have been played since the start of March. The French Open has been moved to later in the year while Wimbledon will not be staged this year.

The ATP, WTA and ITF Tours will remain on hold until August at the earliest.

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