The Lawn Tennis Association has announced a series of tournaments to take place this summer in the absence of its crown jewel Wimbledon. With the tennis season suspended until August due to the coronavirus pandemic, players and officials are looking for ways to fill the gap.
In the UK, the Government has lifted the restrictions on the amount of outdoor exercise people can enjoy, with tennis among the sports allowed to be played.
And in response the LTA, subject to confirmation from the government, has unveiled plans for four events to take place at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton between July 3-26.
The events will be open to the 32 top-ranked British players – 16 men and 16 women – and it is hoped the likes of Andy Murray, Jamie Murray and Johanna Konta will participate.
Scott Lloyd, LTA Chief Executive, said: “Since the coronavirus crisis, we have been working incredibly hard to support all our players, venues, coaches and officials through this very challenging time.
“I’m delighted to announce today the next stage of elite tennis’ return to competing safely behind closed doors as part of a five-phase plan coordinated by UK Sport with Government.
“The LTA is actively engaged in developing the necessary guidelines for behind closed doors events, which we hope will be determined by the Government in the coming weeks to ensure the safest environment for anyone involved in returning to competition and look forward to bringing tennis back into people’s lives this summer.”
Wimbledon was due to take place between June 29 and July 12 but was cancelled last month due to the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, world No 1 Novak Djokovic has launched his own event to take place in the Balkans.
Djokovic has brought in Dominic Thiem, Grigor Dimitrov and Alexander Zverev to take part in the Adria Tour which will run from June 13 until July 5.
“Unlike many other players, I was able to train almost every day because we resided in a house with a tennis court.
“I refrained from posting clips on social networks because I didn’t want to infuriate other players. I am fit and in good shape, so I am looking forward to the Adria Tour, which I am organising.”