Sunderland ready to host Aegon GB Pro-series event

Sunderland will host an Aegon GB Pro-series event for the second time this year when the competition gets underway on Sunday.

The tournament was due to be held in Cardiff but the tennis centre there closed, leaving Sunderland to step in and host the week long event.

The competition, which involves a men’s 10k event, will take place at the Sunderland Tennis Centre and starts with the qualifying rounds this Sunday.

The centre’s Tennis Development Officer, Graham Fowler said: “We’ve hosted a lot of these types of tournaments before, I think the centre held its first one in about 1989.

“When the other tennis centre couldn’t host the tournament, we had the space in our calendar to host it and luckily we got it.”

And tournament director Julie Piper was grateful that Sunderland was able to step in and host the competition.

“At the late stage that we found out that the tennis centre in Cardiff had closed, Sunderland was the only venue which was able to offer us the courts we needed for that period of time,” she explained.

“We have held tournaments in Sunderland before and the centre has supported us well and it’s a good venue.”

Next week’s tournament will be the second to be held at the tennis centre this year after it hosted a men’s and women’s event in March.

Fowler added: “Many Cities don’t even get one international tournament so for us to have two in one year is great.

“I think the centre really lends itself to these types of events because of all the facilities such as the restaurant, offices, press room, gym, swimming pool, as well as the eight international standard tennis courts.”

There is already plans in place for another Pro-series tournament to be held at the centre early next year, and Fowler is pleased to see the venue being recognised as an International tennis venue.

“In January we are holding an even bigger Pro-series tournament which has a men’s 10k event plus a women’s 25k event which will mean it’s even bigger than the one next week.

“We also have some international junior events coming up so I think the centre is being recognised as an international tennis venue”

Entry to the tournament next week is free for spectators, and tournament director Piper  is keen for fans to come down and enjoy the event.

She said: “Obviously I would say come and support the British players, but these tournaments are designed for players to pick up points and prize money to help them move up the tennis ladder.

“Just because the fans maybe haven’t heard of some of the players before doesn’t mean they won’t be the stars of the future.”

Play starts at 10.00am on Sunday through to Thursday, with the final two days play on Friday and Saturday getting underway at 10.30 am.

See it published here.

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