Wimbledon 2019: Survival Of The British

Johanna Konta Carries The Brits

Centre Court gives Johanna Konta the buzz she needs as the home crowd brings support for their fellow Briton. Konta continues to fly the England flag as she carries team GB through to the Wimbledon quarter finals, being the only Briton left in the Wimbledon singles.

The Brit took a comeback victory over former champion Petra Kvitová yesterday with a 6-2 6-4 in the last 2 rounds, seeing her head into the quarter finals where she will face Strýcová in Wimbledon’s Centre Court. Britain’s hoping for a Konta final as she continues to lead the game.

The British tennis player had recently returned from the French Open after reaching the semi-finals but sadly lost to Vondroušová. Who then later lost her final hopes as Australian, Ashleigh Barty, took the French Open 2019 trophy.

It seems as though Konta is bringing the same energy to Wimbledon as she did in the French Open and hopefully more, as she secured her quarter finals with the semi-finals in eyesight. If the Briton reaches the semi finals it would be her second at Wimbledon since 2017. With the Brits backing her and the support on centre court, Konta needs a semi-final victory.

#SerAndy OR #Murena

With the mixed doubled getting underway, Andy Murray represents the Brits with Serena Williams. The duo headed into the second round of the mixed doubles after beating Alexa Guarachi and Andreas Mies with two strong straight sets.

The second round of mixed doubles sees #SerAndy head to head against Serena’s fellow American Raquel Atawo and French Fabrice Martin. With Murray being the last of the Brits in the mixed doubles, there is sure to be a crowd behind #SerAndy at Wimbledon as they play on the centre court.

The mixed doubles victory will certainly enlighten Murray as his day didn’t start on a good patch after his exit in the men’s doubles with partner Pierre Hugues Herbert. Now Murray has his time to put his all into the mixed doubles, hoping for more than he got in the men’s doubles.

Both players make their comeback to tennis after Williams had given birth and will be playing the most games at Wimbledon in five months. Murray had also been out the game for around 23 months after he had undergone surgery earlier in the year. But what a mark both are making as they set a strong presence in the first round. Showing the duo being strong contenders to head into the mixed doubles final.

It’s Serena Williams and Andy Murray with the brilliant partnership in the mixed doubles. But what do you prefer #SerAndy or #Murena?

 

Nick Kyrgios admits to intentionally firing the ball at Rafael Nadal

“Why would I apologise?” said a tempestuous Nick Kyrgios after the heated clash with Rafael Nadal, who had risen above and let the tennis do the talking

Rafael Nadal progresses to the third round at Wimbledon after the explosive encounter with Nick Kyrgios. In what was possibly the most unsettling match of the 2019 Wimbledon campaign thus far, Nadal rose above Kyrgios’s unsportsmanlike behaviour and defeated the Australian 6-3 3-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-3).

For Kyrgios a majority of the match was spent insulting Nadal’s speed of play, or arguing with the chair umpire, which saw him get handed an official warning for misconduct. At one point, he even labelled the umpire as a “disgrace” and his opinion didn’t seem to differ in the aftermath of the match either as the word “horrendous” flew around the conference room.

The Australian was clearly hoping to achieve what he had five years ago at Wimbledon, when then at 19-years-old, Kyrgios hit an astonishing 37 aces to beat Nadal and become the first player outside of the Top 100 to beat a world No.1 at a Grand Slam since 1992. Before the 4th July and after Kyrgios beat Nadal in the three-set thriller at Acapulco, their head-to-head record rested at three wins apiece. However, Kyrgios’s win seemed to have sparked a trade of insults between the two in the press and those tensions were being swung to-and-fro on centre court on Thursday.

The two couldn’t be more different in their demeanour or their playing style and Kyrgios’s unpredictability had certainly begun to creep under Nadal’s skin by the second set. The Australian delivered an 143mph ace on his second serve, just falling shy of Ivo Karlovic’s 144mph record, followed by his signature under arm ace – which Nadal definitely didn’t take too kindly to. The Spaniard responded – and definitely would have been feeling smug afterwards – with a body serve, followed by a chip and a winning volley, taking it to 6-3. But the real shocker came during the third set.

It seemed like Kyrgios had enough of being treated like the underdog and was set on punishing Nadal. At 4-4 and with Nadal at the net, Kyrgios fired a forehand aimed straight for Nadal’s chest. The Spaniard just managed to shield himself with his racquet but Kyrgios still got the point. The shot was on the cusp of being legal and the crowds knew it too as a mixture of boos and cheers echoed through Wimbledon. Meanwhile Nadal was serving his opponent looks that could kill and boy, did he mean it. It was blow-for-blow after that and a rattled Nadal quickly recovered to secure the win, as did the crowd who were right behind him as he celebrated the winning point.

Thereafter, it was a gripping match which saw both players at each other’s necks. It was attack, defence, attack, defence on both parts but the end soon came within arm’s reach for Nadal. Kyrgios just couldn’t maintain his strong form and came under pressure from his opponent. At match point his backhand rushed into the net, giving Nadal the victory and you would have thought the world no.2 had just won the Grand Slam title with the way he celebrated – fist pumping, body hovering in the air. His signature finger wag later made an appearance too.

Unfortunately, tensions weren’t left on the court. During the press conference, Kyrgios, who currently sits at no.43 in the world for Men’s Singles refused to apologise to Nadal despite deliberately aiming a forehand towards him.

When a reporter mentioned about it winding Nadal up, Kyrgios stated, “I don’t care. Why would I apologise?”

He later went on to say: “The dude has got how many Slams, how much money in the bank account? I think he can take a ball to the chest.”

He did also acknowledge that Nadal had played exceptionally well and that he himself, has much to learn should he want to win the title that badly but there was definitely hostility in his approach to answering any questions that regarded the incident on court.

In Nadal’s conference, he made a statement about the shot being “dangerous”. He expressed: “It is not dangerous for me, it is dangerous for a line referee, dangerous for a crowd.”

The world no.2 then went onto say, “It was an important victory for me, sometimes it’s tough to see a couple of things on court. It’s amazing how good he is able to play, so if he is able to forget all these things, he’s potentially a Grand Slam winner.”

If nothing else, at least they were both amicable at the net when the match concluded. Perhaps, if, and there is no doubt they will meet again, we’ll get to witness the spectacle of tennis they created at Wimbledon without the unsportsmanlike behaviour. Though there is no doubt that spectators were given a money-worthy show.

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Oh My Gauff!

Several times this week I have heard utterances to the effect of; ‘what about that 15-year-old who beat Venus Williams?’ There was true astonishment across the nation last Monday when Corey ‘Coco’ Gauff defeated the tennis titan. She experienced repeat success on Wednesday evening, defeating Magdalena Rybáriková, sailing through to the third round. As she prepares to face Polona Hercog later on today, we thought we’d investigate just who exactly this tremendous teen is.

Born in Atlanta, Georgia to a basketball player father and gymnast mother, young Coco has been hitting the courts since the age of 7. At 13 she was the youngest girl to make a US Open Girls Final and last year she went on to win the Junior French Open.

With success already under her belt, it seems as though Coco Gauff has been a familiar name amongst the US tennis community for some time now. However, it was just last Monday where she reigned supreme against Venus, that the world recognised this ambitious champ in the making. Tennis legend, John McEnroe, stated ‘If she’s not number one in the world by 20, I will be absolutely shocked.’

Despite her recent rise to fame, Gauff has clearly already captured the hearts of tennis fans. During her match against Rybáriková, she appeared to have overwhelming support from the crowds, occasionally knocking the Slovakian off her game.

What is perhaps most striking about Gauff, is the confidence that she maintains throughout her performances. There is no uncertainty, no hesitation – just pure focus and attention. When questioned if it makes a difference who is on the other side of the net, her response was: ‘not at all. I think I can beat anyone and if I don’t think I can win the match, then I wont even step on the court.’

No doubt, we all will be on the edge of our seats today, hopeful that Coco will put up another fierce performance. When a young prodigy steps on the scene in any scenario, a curiosity is often stirred within us to see just how far they can go. I sense that curiosity simmering amongst all Wimbledon watchers this week. Question is, how long will this curiosity linger? Does young Coco have what it takes to make it all the way to the final? Watch this space!

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Murray & Williams: Mixed Doubles Magic

After initially announcing his retirement from professional tennis back in January, fans were delighted when Andy Murray confirmed that he would play in the men’s doubles at Wimbledon this year. However, fans are now doubly over the moon as Murray has also confirmed that he will play in the mixed doubles tournament.

However, this will be no ordinary mixed doubles match as Murray’s partner will be none other than tennis titan, Serena Williams!  After being constantly hounded by the press, Williams eventually responded to journalists: ‘if you guys really want it… all right, done.’

Throughout last week, Murray mentioned that he was on the lookout for a female tennis partner but had not confirmed any names. Serena Williams told the press that she would be ‘available’ should Murray wish to partner up with her. Well, it seems the dream is now a reality! Initially Murray remained coy about the alliance and stated last week that he was ‘90% sure who his partner would be’. When asked whether the partner in question would be Serena, his response was: ‘possibly. I don’t want to say too much just now until things are definitely confirmed.’

This partnership is surely every tennis fan’s dream. Murray; a 2-time Wimbledon winner and Williams; a 23-time Grand Slam champion. Each player will undoubtedly put up a staggering performance with the press already referring to them as a ‘power couple’. Murray himself added that Williams was ‘arguably the best player ever’ and ‘would be a pretty solid partner.’

Considering each of their past performances, this is undeniably one of the most high profile matches in the history of Wimbledon and is sure to draw in a crowd.

The pair are set to play against Germany’s Andreas Mies and Chile’s Alexa Guarachi in the opening round.

The mixed doubles competition begins on Thursday 4th July but, according to the BBC, the dream team are expected to play their opening match on Friday 5th.

Murray’s former partner, Colin Fleming, said of the duo: ‘I just hope they can get through a round or two and start to get a feel for each other on the court because if they can do that they could be really, really dangerous.’

And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a little bit of danger?

Why not head on over to our Wimbledon hospitality page for your chance to experience the world’s greatest tennis tournament in ultimate style for 2020.

 

Back The Brits

It’s a full house for The Brits after day one of Wimbledon 2019. Both Kyle Edmund and Heather Watson won their first game with straight sets, taking them both through to the second round. Each claimed victory against Spain’s Jaume Munar and America’s Caty McNally respectively. However, the British certainly didn’t stop at just those two wins as we entered into day two of the tournament.

Everyone was hoping for consecutive wins at Wimbledon day two, especially the Duchess of Cambridge, as she enjoyed the tennis action from the Royal Box. Harriett Dart provided great action for the Duchess as she began the winning strike for team GB, sending Christina McHale out of the game. Dart then took the win of the last set after a gruelling two hours 19 minutes, resulting in fantastic tennis action where both players fought for survival.

Straight Set Zone

Johanna Konta strikes again! Britain’s number one got off to a fantastic start, as she headed into the second stage of The Championships after straight sets. The match saw her break no sweat to take the result we all longed for. Konta’s opponent Ana Bogdan didn’t get much chance but continued to push through the game as the semi final slowly went out of her reach. Konta is back in action tomorrow against Wimbledon Doubles 2018 winner Kateřina Siniaková. Let’s #BackTheBrits and hope for an excellent tournament for #TeamGB!

Dan Evans added to the Brits victories with a straight set in his game against Federico Delbonis. The Argentinian hasn’t won a game at Wimbledon, being an easy entry to the semi-finals. Evans dominated each set to take him to the second round of Wimbledon 2019. Georgian Basilashvili will be there to meet Evans in the semi-finals. A player who surprised everyone at the German Open last year, as he entered as a qualifier and finished as a title holder, becoming the first ever Georgian to win an ATP. He may have been underestimated last year but it’s here at Wimbledon where the Basilashvili challenge will commence.

The Show Must Go On

Of course, it’s not all glory without a bit of rain and it was just that for former British number two James Ward. He was defeated by Bailashvili, being the first Brit out of the men’s singles. But Ward is back today for his place in the men’s doubles semi-finals. With Jay Clarke being Ward’s doubles partner, can both Brits secure another semi final place for team GB? Or will it be home time for James Ward, as Clarke remains in the men’s singles forwarding into the semi finals where he meets seeding number two Roger Federer.

Another one bites the dust in the men’s singles as young Paul Jubb makes his Wimbledon debut but regrettably ends in a three-set defeat from Joao Sousa. The Portuguese player won 7 of the games in a row, a huge hold over Jubb. The spotlight was on the young Briton in the run up to Wimbledon after his National Collegiate Athletic Association victory.  He became the first Briton to take this victory, a huge achievement for the starlet. But unfortunately, he just couldn’t get the win at Wimbledon this year-round but hopefully he will be back stronger next year.

Katie Swan might have lost her chances at Wimbledon women’s singles but she’s got the doubles to think about now. She takes on Sara Sorribes Tormo and María José Martínez Sánchez with doubles partner Freya Christie, setting their sights on the doubles final. This is sure to be a thrilling game!

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 Down The Rankings For Nadal

 Down The Ladder Goes Rafael Nadal

After his five-set defeat last year in the Wimbledon semi-final against Djokovic, Nadal wished for a higher spot than third seeding at this year’s Wimbledon tournament.

Second ranking Rafael Nadal slips down to third place behind Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, leaving everyone wondering why. But did you know that the seedings given by Wimbledon are very different to those of other tournaments. The tennis event is one of the few that seeds players by their court performances, rather than the world rankings. Federer is seen to be a top-flight player when it comes to all courts, especially grass courts. He has won eight Wimbledon titles, compared to Nadal with 12 French Open wins and only two wins at Wimbledon. This result indicates that the Spaniard’s favoured court is clay. He is now motivated more than ever to grab the second spot, at least in the Wimbledon seedings, after being unhappy with the given position.

❝Second place is better than third❞

He stated when speaking to Spanish TV Vamos on Tuesday regarding the seeds rankings.

Unfortunately, he had to miss Wimbledon in 2016 due to injuries but that will not stop Rafael Nadal from playing the sport he loves. After his twelfth French Open title earlier this year, Nadal would be motivated more than ever to play at Wimbledon. A step down from second place will be difficult for Nadal but it will only make him stronger as he fights for the top spot, proving to Wimbledon he is a man of many courts.

Today Nadal takes on Japanese tennis player Yūichi Sugita in the men’s singles on Court 1. His first game at Wimbledon 2019, he looks for a semi-final against Roger Federer, a likely opponent for Nadal in the Wimbledon semi-finals. A game everyone will enjoy as both players go head to head after Nadal took the victory over Federer during the Wimbledon 2008 final, making it his first Wimbledon title. Past games between the two at Wimbledon have seen 3/4 wins for Federer but Nadal will be looking to take a win, making his way to the final for a fourth time and hoping to get his hands on a third Wimbledon title.

The seedings for the tournament position Nadal under Federer but the world rankings say otherwise. Will Nadal’s performance show why he’s number two in the world rankings or will he prove Wimbledon correct with the clay courts being his home. After all, Federer does have more Wimbledon titles than Nadal and several strong victories on grass and hard courts.

Don’t miss out on Wimbledon 2019, one of many fantastic sport events this summer. Here at Eventmasters we have many packages available to suit you and your clients. Contact us to discuss your requirements further 020 7989 6500.

Wimbledon Makes Quite A Racquet

Wimbledon Preparation

Wimbledon 2019 is slowly approaching with the qualifiers in full swing, heating up the game before the two-week tournament gets underway. The event is prestigious in the sports world and is one of the oldest tennis tournaments in the world, making Wimbledon a prime calendar date for many tennis fans. With all the preparations in action for Wimbledon there’s only one thing left to do and that’s to get the Pimm’s on ice in, not forgetting the strawberries and cream to compliment.

It’s bye-bye Wimbledon this year for Katie Boulter as she is withdrawn from the tennis tournament due to back injuries. The Leicester born tennis player also had to be withdrawn from the French Open earlier this month due to back injury, which has since saw her world ranking drop.

Liam Broady is set for his departure at the Wimbledon qualifiers after being knocked out the tournament by Grégoire Barrère, leaving Broady with a 6-6-6 defeat. The London tennis tournament currently stands with no British players in the men’s singles this year, after the main man Andy Murray undergoes surgery. Can he come back to Wimbledon and grab the Brits a win in the men’s doubles?

British women’s singles saw Samantha Murray carry the Brits to the qualifiers for Wimbledon 2019, after Brit Gabriella Taylor was beaten by German tennis player Bonaventure. Men’s singles player Broady seems to be taking Andy Murray’s place in the singles after Murray had undergone surgery in previous months, seeing him only competing in the doubles next week with 2016 singles champ Pierre-Hugues Herbert. While Murray’s wife Samantha, takes centre court for the Brits at the qualifiers, where she will be facing 2015 French Open singles winner Paula Badosa. The Brits will be looking to secure the victory at Wimbledon this year after not having a victory in sight since Jamie Murray won the mixed doubles in 2017.

The current Wimbledon seedings have seen Novak Djokovic take the top spot in the men’s singles with Rafael Nadal, the world’s second top player being demoted to third place in the Wimbledon seeding under Roger Federer. Federer has won 10 titles in the men’s singles but that may be changed shortly to eleven at this year’s Wimbledon, with an ever so exhilarating match at one of the worlds biggest tennis events between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. The two players previously met at the Australian Open final which saw Federer lead straight sets.

Stefanos Tsitsipas makes his mark in the sport as he becomes the highest ranked Greek player in the history of tennis, after beating Federer in the Australian Open earlier this year. The young Greek learnt from his previous experience against French Open winner Nadal who took the win, after taking five of the six sets. Tsitsipas could be near to his first grand slam title victory after a fantastic performance this year, which saw him in the final for two Opens; Miami Open doubles finalist and Madrid Open singles finalist.

History was made at Roland Garros for Ashleigh Barty as she won the women’s singles on home soil at the Australian Open with 6540 points. She is the first Aussie to win the title since 1973! Her success places her first in the ranking for the women’s singles, taking her 163 points above previous world number one Naomi Osaka, who’s been knocked down to second place in the rankings. But with Serena Williams back to business at Wimbledon, Barty faces a challenge, especially as no has yet surpassed Serena’s consecutive victories at both Wimbledon and Australian Open. Not many achieve consecutive wins at two major tournaments but with Barty’s winning strike in Australia and the Birmingham Open could she achieve two consecutive grand slams in 2019 and be added to the list.

The grass courts seem no problem for the world number one Novak Djokovic, as he prepares for Wimbledon in his home country of Serbia where there are no grass courts, leaving Djokovic to practise on hard courts. A different feel to what he will be playing on at Wimbledon, but with his experience at the Wimbledon, this should be no job for the Serbian, as he returns to the All England Club hoping for his fifth win.

It’s a British quarter final over at Eastbourne where Dan Evans, Cameron Norrie and Kyle Edmund fight for their survival into the Nature Valley International finals. Evans secured his place in the final after his victory against 2016 doubles champion Pierre-Hugues Herbert with a 6-3 7-5 win, beating Andy Murray’s doubles partner. After returning back to the court Evans and doubles partner Lloyd Glasspool lost their shot for the double’s final against the top-flight Colombians Robert Farah and Juan Sebastian Cabal. British player Norrie was left out of the final after Edmund took a 6-2 6-2 win after his dry patch from the Queens Club Opening Championship at the start of the month.

Though the All England Club gates returns the three-time grand slam champion Angelique Kerber. She returns back to defend her title, which saw her take the 6-3 6-3 victory from Serena Williams last year. It’s Kerber’s lucky month as she takes another good win from Eastbourne after straight sets against Simona Halep, seeing her into the semi-finals of Eastbourne International. The former world number one has a busy month ahead of her as she enters Wimbledon and the Eastbourne semi-finals, where she’ll be hoping to take an important win at both tournaments.

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Wimbledon 2019: Murray’s Return

The world’s most prestigious tennis tournament commences this week but the major question on the minds of every tennis fan this year: will Andy Murray play Wimbledon?

After missing Wimbledon in 2018 to undergo his first surgical procedure, it was not guaranteed that Murray would be up to playing the championship this year. However, it has been confirmed that he will enter the doubles competition on Wednesday 3rd July alongside Pierre-Hugues Herbert. Fans are eagerly awaiting to see if the British Champion will be able to mirror his recent Fevertree success. Murray has stated that he does not have high expectations for the game but is determined to play a good match regardless.

2019 truly has been a tough year for Murray. Fans were devastated when he tearfully announced during a press conference in January that he would be retiring from professional Tennis. The 32-year-old had been struggling with a hip injury for several years and was in such pain that he struggled to put on his socks, let alone continue with a tennis career.

However, the tables amazingly turned later on that month. Murray underwent life changing surgery where a cobalt-chrome metal cap was placed over his femur. Health professionals stated that the surgery would give the tennis champion a greater chance of returning to the sport. His supporters were encouraged when he announced, soon after, that he finally felt free from pain. Further optimism ensued when, during an interview in March, he stated that there was a possibility that he may return to professional tennis.

Since the surgery, Murray has entered two doubles competitions, each resulting very differently. Fans were delighted when he and Feliciano Lopez won this year’s Fevertree Championship. This was truly a meaningful moment for Murray and no doubt reignited his passion for Tennis after the possibility that he would never play again. Clearly his new metal hip was working wonders as he expressed that he did not experience any pain during the game.

However, Murray was soon served a reality check during the Eastbourne international. Partnering with Marcelo Melo, they unfortunately lost the first round. Fans have commented on the lack of chemistry he appeared to have with his partner, which may have contributed to the defeat. The game was a struggle and served as a reminder that this was only Murray’s second game since his surgery. The loss highlighted that he would need to put in further practice if he is to progress further at Wimbledon.

The two-time Wimbledon winner was recently asked if he would eventually be confident enough to play singles again. His response was that he would consider giving it a go if he continued to progress. There have been rumours that he may return to the US Open in August but nothing has been confirmed. As it stands, it seems as though he quite happy to play doubles and appears to be taking each day as it comes.

Although positive that Murray has begun competing again, his surgery does not necessarily guarantee that he will be able to return to tennis in the long term. Continuing to play a high impact sport after a procedure such as this can cause further strain and injury to the body. It, therefore, seems wise that Murray has stuck with doubles tournaments for now in order to help reduce the chances of further damage.

With the year that Murray has had, Wimbledon 2019 will certainly be an exciting competition for all viewers and it will definitely be interesting to see how he will fair under the pressure of the world’s most renowned tennis championship.

Don’t forget to check out our Wimbledon hospitality page for your chance to experience the world’s most historic and respected Tennis tournament.

Jay Clarke has been handed a wildcard for Nature Valley Open in Nottingham

The 19-year-old from the East Midlands joins fellow British players Cameron Norrie and Liam Broady for the British Tennis event, with the ATP Challenger tournament running from June 9 – 17 at the Nottingham Tennis Centre.

One of the Britain’s brightest young talents, Clarke is no stranger to the Nottingham Tennis Centre, being born down the road in Derby and also receiving a wildcard for last year’s tournament.

Clarke is relishing the oppourtunity, saying:

“I am really pleased to be back in Nottingham, especially as it is near to home and has such great grass courts…It is so important to get good grass-court preparation for Wimbledon. I have travelled so much in the last year and really feel I am improving, so cannot wait to get back on the grass.”

A former British No.1 junior, Clarke already has three Futures titles to his name and reached the final of the Challenger event in India last November.

He cut his teeth at Wimbledon last year in the doubles with fellow Brit Marcus Willis, where they reached the third round after upsetting the defending champions and second seeds Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert.

Tournament Director Paul Hutchins said: “It is always good to have local talent playing at the event and Jay is really a player on the up. He is a dedicated young professional with a good family and fantastic coach support.

These days the circuit is tough with so many players, but Jay has good athletic ability, a strong offensive game and lots of dedicated ambition – and it will be good for local spectators to see their local player.”

The men’s challenger runs alongside a WTA international tournament, with British No.1 Johanna Konta, defending champion Donna Vekic and Olympic champion Monica Puig all confirmed at the grass-court event.

To enjoy the Nature Valley Open in VIP style this year with our official hospitality packages, please click here.

Our Sherwood Suite provides a wonderful setting for the day, as guests enjoy this dazzling tennis showcase. Overlooking central court, this corporate facility gives guests unrivalled views of the action coupled with stylish surroundings and first-rate cuisine to match.

If you are also interested in enjoying hospitality at our other summer tennis tournaments, then please find our links below:

Birmingham Classic (Monday 18th – Sunday 24th June 2018)

Eastbourne International (Monday 25th – Saturday 30th June 2018)

Wimbledon Championships (Monday 2nd July – Sunday 15th July 2018)

Sharapova Joins Stunning Line-Up At Nature Valley Classic

Former Wimbledon winner, Maria Sharapova has confirmed that she will make a return to Birmingham this year, ahead of the anticipated Nature Valley Classic in June. The 31-year-old, who boasts five-time Grand Slam titles, will join reigning Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza, defending Classic champion Petra Kvitova, British No.1 Johanna Konta, starlet Naomi Osaka along with a host of other big names.

The Nature Valley Classic, formerly the Birmingham Classic, boasts a long and illustrious history, dating back as far as 1982 when Billie Jean King won the inaugural tournament.

This year’s star-studded cast has certainly caught with fans already rushing to book their place at the WTA Premier Event, which is scheduled to be held from 18th – 24th June at Edgbaston Priory Club.

Sharapova, who celebrates her 31st birthday today, is one of only five female players to win all four Grand Slam titles (the others are Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf and Serana Williams), including her remarkable victory at Wimbledon in 2004 at the age of 17, just weeks after she lifted the first of her two Nature Valley Classic trophies. The Russian successfully defended her Birmingham title the following year and has also finished runner-up at the Edgbaston Priory Club in both 2007 and 2010.

“I’m excited to return to play the Nature Valley Classic,” said the Russian. “I feel like the fans in Birmingham and I go back a long way and I’ve got a lot of good memories there. It’s going to feel really good to be back out there playing again.”

Nature Valley Classic Tournament Director, Patrick Hughesman, has expressed his delight at adding such an experienced pro to this year’s competition: “Maria is one of the biggest stars of her generation and a former champion in Birmingham, so it will be great to see her back on the grass courts of the Edgbaston Priory Club.

“It’s shaping up to be one of the most memorable weeks in the tournament’s history and it’s no wonder – fans and players alike – want to be part of it.”

Nature Valley Classic Hospitality - Skyview Suite Package

Enjoy the action of the Nature Valley Classic from the luxury confines of the Skyview Suite.

To enjoy the Nature Valley Classic in VIP style this year with our official hospitality packages, please click here.

Our Skyview Suite provides a wonderful base for the day as guests look forward to a dazzling day of tennis. Situated overlooking the four show courts, this corporate facility gives guests unparalleled views of the action coupled with stylish surroundings and excellent cuisine to match.

If you are also interested in enjoying hospitality at our other summer tennis tournaments, then please find our links below:

Nottingham Open (Monday 11th – Sunday 17th June 2018)

Eastbourne International (Monday 25th – Saturday 30th June 2018)

Wimbledon Championships (Monday 2nd July – Sunday 15th July 2018)