The road to Wimbledon passes through Ilkley over the next nine days as the future generation of tennis stars bid to take the next step towards the hallowed grass of the All England Club.
Ilkley has traditionally hosted an open event at this time of year on an annual basis, but the creation of an extra week between the French Open and Wimbledon has resulted in the need for another event to be created. And Ilkley Lawn Tennis and Squash Club, which celebrates its 135th anniversary this year, has earned the right to host that tournament.
Therefore, the inaugural AEGON Ilkley Trophy has status on the women’s ITF pro circuit and the men’s ATP Challenger Tour, with the women playing for a $50,000 prize fund and the men 42,500 euros.
Ivan Dodig, who last week won the French Open doubles title, is among the leading men’s singles players, with world No 85 Malek Jaziri of Tunisia the highest-ranked men’s player in the draw.
Two more players inside the top 100 are in the field while the top-ranked player on the women’s side is Germany’s Annika Beck, who is 83rd.
Flying the flag for home-grown talent is 21 year old Liam Broady, the only British entry currently entered into the Aegon Ilkley tournament.
Qualifying for the men’s event begins on Saturday, with the women starting on Sunday. The finals are scheduled for next weekend.
Charlie Maunder, general manager of Ilkley Lawn Tennis and Squash Club, said: “Excitement is building here for what we know will be an outstanding event for the club, the town and the region.
“This, the very first Aegon Ilkley Trophy, is a tournament that will showcase the next generation of players who will go on to become household names. It is a fantastic coup for the club that our first Aegon tournament has attracted so many upcoming pro-tennis players, many of whom we hope will be the next generation of grand slam winners.
“Ilkley may be a small town, but the appetite for sport here is unrivalled and we look forward to welcoming players from all over to play against the backdrop of Ilkley Moor.”
Tickets for the Aegon Ilkley Trophy are still available to buy for each day from Monday 15 – Friday 19 June. Tickets must now be bought in person, paying cash, at Ilkley Lawn Tennis and Squash Club either, in advance or on the day of attendance. Please note that matches on both Saturday 20 & Sunday 21 June are SOLD OUT. Tickets can be purchased by phone on 0844 5816903 or online at https://www.theticketfactory.com/ltaci/online/