The men’s line-up has now been released for the GB Pro-Series grass-court event, which acts as a warm-up tournament ahead of the Wimbledon Championships.
This year, Australian Jordan Thompson and Yen-Hsun Lu from Taipei, ranked 94 and 95 in the world respectively, will compete for the title at the picturesque Ilkley Lawn Tennis and Squash Club, Yorkshire’s leading grass-court venue, from June 11-19.
Lu is notorious among British fans for beating Andy Murray in the 2008 Olympic tournament in Beijing, and he reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals six years ago.
The 22-player draw will also include several British wild-card entries yet to be confirmed.
Entrants will be hoping to emulate last year’s winner Denis Kudla, the first-ever Aegon Ilkley Trophy champion who was handed a Wimbledon wild card. Then ranked 136th, the American has since risen to number 53 and will gain direct entry to play on SW19’s lawns this summer.
Ilkley is a Challenger event - the second tier of men’s professional tennis - and attracts players in the top 200, including up-and-coming young talent expected to rise to the heights of the game.
Also among the line-up are Australia’s Matthew Ebden (135), Bosnia’s Mirza Basic (130), American Jared Donaldson (140) and Frenchman Quentin Halys (154). Donaldson and Halys have both been tipped for success on the first-tier ATP Tour by the Next Generation campaign.
Other players to watch when the tournament gets underway are former junior world number two Bjorn Fratangelo (USA, 103), Grand Slam championship doubles finalist Igor Sijsling (Netherlands, 123) and Marco Chiudinelli (131), a Swiss Davis Cup team-mate of Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka.
Ilkley club chairman Stephen Hepplewhite is excited to welcome the professional circuit to the riverside grounds, which this year have seen a clubhouse refurbishment and 400 extra spectator seats added.
“I am delighted to see such a strong line-up of top class players from all over the world coming here to Ilkley. We look forward to providing players and spectators alike with another memorable tournament from our newly improved facilities and, of course, showing them a warm Yorkshire welcome.”
Ilkley is Yorkshire’s most prestigious tournament, and last year’s debut event attracted sell-out crowds. The 2017 event will see prize money rise to $225,000, meaning the British grass-court season will be the highest-value pre-Grand Slam circuit in the world.
British number one Andy Murray’s Wimbledon warm-up will be the full ATP Tour event at Queen’s Club, in west London. Yorkshireman Kyle Edmund is also expected to compete.
Tickets for this year’s Trophy are available at https://www.theticketfactory.com/ltaci/online.
AEGON ILKLEY TROPHY 2016 - MEN’S MAIN DRAW
· Mirza Basic (Bosnia, No. 130)
· Marco Chiudinelli (Switzerland, No. 131)
· Jared Donaldson (USA, No. 140)
· Matthew Ebden (Australia, No. 135)
· Alejandro Falla (Columbia, No. 158)
· Bjorn Fratangelo (USA, No. 103)
· Quentin Halys (France, No. 154)
· Ryan Harrison (USA, No. 147)
· Austin Krajicek (USA, No. 134)
· Yen-Hsun Lu (Taipei, No. 95)
· Vincent Millot (France, No. 144)
· Dennis Novikov (USA, No. 146)
· Renzo Olivio (Argentina, No. 145)
· Alexander Sarkissian (USA, No. 157)
· Igor Sijsling (Netherlands, No. 123)
· John-Patrick Smith (Australia, No. 151)
· Tim Smyczek (USA, No. 121)
· Go Soeda (Japan, No. 150)
· Eduardo Struvay (Columbia, No. 163)
· Jordan Thompson (Australia, No. 94)
· Di Wu (China, No. 148)
· Grega Zemlja (Slovenia, No. 152)