The Sunderland Tennis Centre is set to host yet another GB Pro-series event.
It is the third such event to be held in Sunderland in the last 12 months, with the tournament set to start this Sunday, but this year will include a $25k women’s tournament alongside the men’s $10k.
This means the tournament will attract a number of top players with some just back from competing in the Australian Open.
Tournament director Richard Joyner said: “We’re really looking forward to returning to Sunderland. The women’s singles line up is particularly strong, with a number of players arriving having just been in Australia, and both events have a good blend of British and overseas players.”
The women’s line up includes seven players who are ranked inside the world’s top 200.
The highest ranked player in the competition will be British number 2 Johanna Konta who reached 112 in the world in 2013.
Jade Windley, who used to train in Sunderland, and British number 4 Tara Moore will also be looking to challenge for the title.
British number 5 Dan Cox, currently 250 in the world, is the highest ranked player in the men’s draw and he will play alongside Dan Smethurst who will be looking to replicate his success in the tournament last year.
Smethurst said: “I am really looking forward to coming back. Obviously I have good memories from last year, winning the singles and doubles titles, plus I won my first ever world ranking point at the Sunderland Tennis Centre.
“We are made to feel very welcome by everyone, and I hope to do well again this year,” added the British number 12.
The Women’s qualifying event which takes place on Monday and Tuesday sees some local interest with Sabrina Bamburac and Grace Dixon, both from Whickham, in action.
In addition, Farah Abdel-Aziz from Stockton on Tees, and 16-year-old Emma Wilson, from Cramlington, are also hoping to make qualifying.
Men’s qualifying is on Sunday 19 and Monday 20 January, with the main draw taking place from Tuesday 21 to Saturday 25 January. The women’s qualifying will take place on Monday 20 and Tuesday 21, with main draw Wednesday to Sunday.
Entry throughout the week is free to spectators.