Strongest field yet to compete for Ilkley Trophy

One of the strongest fields in tournament history – including the last three women’s champions – will descend on Ilkley later this month.

Charlie Maunder.

The lush grass courts of Ilkley Lawn Tennis & Squash Club host the annual event from June 17-23 which this year sees nine players ranked between 50 and 100 in the world head to the idyllic Yorkshire spa town.

That entry list for the 2019 Ilkley Trophy includes the 2016 champion Evgeniya Rodina (Russia), currently ranked 70 in the world, 2017 winner Magdalena Rybarikova (No 74, Slovakia) – who then went on to reach the semi-finals at Wimbledon – and last year’s champion Tereza Smitkova of the Czech Republic, who has dropped to No 126 in the rankings.

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Of the 20 women accepted directly into the main draw, former world No 11 and current world No 53, Kristina Mladenovic (France), is the highest-ranked player. Mladenovic has won three grand slam doubles titles. Her compatriot and fellow France Fed Cup team member Pauline Parmentier returns, aiming to build on her 2018 haul of two WTA singles titles.

On the men’s side, French prospect Ugo Humbert won in Marseille earlier this year while Australian Jordan Thompson returns to the tournament for a fourth time. Romanian Marius Copil (ranked 83rd) comes to Ilkley following a successful 2018 which saw him reach his first ATP World Tour-level final and notch up two wins over top-10 players.

Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan is one of the more familiar names from the tennis circuit, the scalp of Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open in 2017 being his claim to fame.

Tournament director Charlie Maunder said: “It’s fantastic to see that we’ve attracted another strong list of players.

“There are more players in the top 100 coming to Ilkley this year than we’ve had in the last couple of years which means that we know the standard of tennis will be incredibly high.

“Packing all the action into just seven days, rather than nine as in previous years, means that every day will offer a packed programme of world class elite tennis here in Yorkshire.

“Stretching from morning to sunset, whether visitors can make it for the whole day or just after work, matches will be on-going so there will always be some amazing tennis.”

Tickets are on sale at https://www.lta.org.uk/major-tennis-events/trophy-series/ilkley-trophy/tickets-2019/