The first of these will be a wheelchair event 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.
The second event will be the season-ending LTA British Tour Masters scheduled on two days – Friday 18 – Saturday 19 December. 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.
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.
Scott Lloyd, LTA Chief Executive, said: “The LTA has worked hard to provide our players with additional competition and earning opportunities since elite tennis tournaments could resume in June. In fact over 110 players took part in our British Tour events at the NTC this summer, with slightly more women doing so. The pandemic also gave us the opportunity to explore new innovative tournament formats for the first time, working collaboratively with new partners to help fund and facilitate these. We continue to develop our plans for 2021 and are committed to hosting international ITF World Tennis Tour events as soon as we are able and it is safe to do so. In the meantime, we are excited to announce the next wave of events at the NTC in December, providing an outstanding competitive environment for our Wheelchair and British Tour players ahead of their preparation for the new season.”
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