Queen’s will become a mixed event from 2025

[ad_1]

Queen’s, the prestigious Wimbledon preparatory grass tournament, will be a mixed tournament from 2025.

The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) has confirmed that a WTA 500 level tournament will take place the week before the existing Cinch Championships men’s tournament, which begins this year on June 15. This is the first time London has hosted a WTA event outside of Wimbledon in 50 years.

The new tournament will have repercussions on the grass season.

The Surbiton event, which Andy Murray has attended and won in recent years, will cease to exist, while the Birmingham and Eastbourne tournaments will be downgraded from WTA 250 to 125 respectively (the equivalent of an ATP event Challenger) and WTA 500 to WTA 250.

Prior to the confirmation, concerns had been raised over the state of the men’s event grass pitches after a week of play. The LTA was optimistic on the matter, saying it had every confidence in the data which show that it will hold up.

“Repercussions for the rest of lawn tennis in the United Kingdom”

Analysis by Charlie Eccleshare

Today’s announcement is a significant development as the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) attempts to raise the profile of women’s tennis in the UK.

Queen’s is a staple of the British sporting calendar, generating excitement among the general public ahead of Wimbledon, and this should be an opportunity to provide greater exposure to local players like Kate Boulter and Harriet Dart. The LTA is committed to ensuring that the women’s event, like the men’s, is broadcast on free-to-air television, which would make a big difference to the type of attention it receives. The WTA event, however, will still have less prize money than the existing ATP Cinch Championships.

It is also hoped that a women’s tournament will help attract a more diverse audience to the event, with the hope – although this remains to be confirmed – that tickets will be more affordable than for the men’s event. More broadly, this move brings the men’s and women’s circuits slightly closer together, and that must be a good thing given the importance of joint events to the sport. All British grass tournaments will now be double events.

There will be some disappointment, however, in terms of how the announcement affects some of the other events of the UK grass court season. Surbiton is no longer there for example (with the feeling at the LTA that the event had outgrown the venue), while Birmingham, which will take its place, has been demoted at WTA level from 250 to 125, a Challenger.

Eastbourne’s downgrade from WTA 500 to 250 is the most significant. There is another WTA 500 event that week in Bad Homburg, Germany, meaning a maximum of three players ranked in the top 30 can play in the British seaside town. It’s a shame for an event that has become a must in the grass season and has a quirky charm that sets it apart. Last month, Eastbourne Chamber of Commerce chief executive Christina Ewbank said the impact on the local economy could be “huge”. In its current form, it still has a year left to start imagining its future by the sea.

(Luke Walker/Getty Images for LTA)

[ad_2]

Scroll to Top