Stars set for British grass events

May 20, 2021
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    A general view of the main court at EastbourneEastbourne hosts men's and women's tournaments in the week before Wimbledon

    Although we all understood the reasons why, it was still sad to see the lack of top-class tennis on the British grass courts last summer.

    This year, though, the country's leading events are back. And the world's biggest stars will be playing on these shores.

    After the cancellation of last year's tournament because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Wimbledon fortnight will dominate the tennis calendar once again from 28 June.

    In addition, the usual grass-court events at Queen's, Eastbourne, Birmingham and Nottingham are also back where they belong.

    Each event is hoping to welcome about 25% of its usual capacity, while Wimbledon says it is "confident" even more fans will be allowed to go to the All England Club.

    If you are not lucky enough to be going in person, there will be television, radio and online coverage of the events across the BBC.

    Here is a round-up of who is playing at the WTA and ATP events around the country…

    WTA Nottingham, 6-13 June

    Five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams is the star attraction on the entry list for the WTA 250 in Nottingham.

    Britain's leading two female players Johanna Konta and Heather Watson could also play, although the participation of the top names depends on their progress at the French Open.

    With Roland Garros starting a week later than usual on 30 May, it means the second week of the Grand Slam event clashes with the Nottingham Open.

    ATP Nottingham, 7-13 June

    British former world number one Andy Murray has put his name down for the Nottingham Open as he bids to play in the Wimbledon singles for the first time since 2017.

    The 34-year-old Scot has been struggling with a groin injury and has chosen to miss the upcoming French Open, instead focusing on being fit for the grass-court season.

    The ATP event in Nottingham is on the Challenger Tour, the tier below the main men's tour, and Murray has not played there since 2006.

    However, his entry is not a guarantee he will play but is seen as an option for match practice if he decides nearer the time that he needs it.

    South Africa's Kevin Anderson, who reached the Wimbledon final in 2018, and Britain's Liam Broady have also signed up to the tournament.

    WTA Birmingham, 14-20 June

    British number one Johanna Konta and American teenager Coco Gauff are the leading names to have entered the Birmingham Classic.

    Belgium's world number 15 Elise Mertens is set to be the top seed at the WTA 250 event, which starts on 14 June.

    Tunisia's Ons Jabeur, Croatia's Donna Vekic, Latvia's 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko and Russia's two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova are also planning to play.

    ATP Queen's, 14-20 June

    Murray is also planning to headline the Cinch Championships at Queen's Club, where he is a record five-time champion and has a lifetime commitment to play.

    Dan Evans and Cameron Norrie – Britain's highest-ranked men – are also set to play in west London, while Swiss three-time Grand Slam title winner Stan Wawrinka and 2016 Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic have also entered.

    Leading the field are top-10 players Matteo Berrettini and Diego Schwartzman, while 19-year-old Italian Jannik Sinner plans to make his Queen's debut.

    WTA/ATP Eastbourne, 19-26 June

    The final British grass-court tournament to be held before Wimbledon is the combined WTA 500 and ATP 250 event in Eastbourne.

    Although the field has yet to be announced, the women's event particularly attracts some well-known names. Former world number ones Karolina Pliskova and Caroline Wozniacki have won the past two tournaments.

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