Shorter is better as Ilkley Trophy looks to generate higher standards

Tereza Smitkova: The 2018 champion at Ilkley will be playing for more prize money this summer. (Picture: Karen Ross)
Tereza Smitkova: The 2018 champion at Ilkley will be playing for more prize money this summer. (Picture: Karen Ross)
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The organisers of the Ilkley Trophy have unveiled changes that promise to shoehorn more high-quality matches into fewer days.

The event, which takes place at Ilkley Lawn Tennis and Squash Club from June 17-23, returns in June for its fifth year on the ATP Challenger and ITF women’s tour.

Ilkley Fuzion 100 Mens final of 2018, Sergiy Stakhovsky V Oscar Otte (Picture: Karen Ross)

Ilkley Fuzion 100 Mens final of 2018, Sergiy Stakhovsky V Oscar Otte (Picture: Karen Ross)

The event has been trimmed down from nine days to seven with more direct entries into the main draw and therefore a reduction in the number of qualifying rounds.

This year’s showpiece will also hand out increased prize money as organisers look to build on the event’s popularity.

Charlie Maunder, ILTSC Manager and Tournament Director, said: “Five years on and we’ve achieved a huge amount since the tournament came to town.

“The event has grown, not just in size – we are now able to seat 800 spectators on centre court alone; back in 2015 it was just 300 – but also in reputation, named as ‘Competition of the Year’ for the north in the 2018 British Tennis Awards.

Every detail of the event is re-examined each year to help us build on previous successes, and of course learn from anything that could be done better.

Charlie Maunder

“Every detail of the event is re-examined each year to help us build on previous successes, and of course learn from anything that could be done better.”

The event has become a key warm-up tournament for players in the run up to Wimbledon and there has been plenty of success for previous winners.

Wildcards into the men’s main draw have been awarded to Denis Kudla (2015) and Sergiy Stakhovsky (2018), whilst the 2017 Ilkley women’s singles winner Magdalena Rybarikova went on to reach the semi-finals at the All England Club that year.

A packed Centre Court at the Fusion 100 Ilkley Trophy in 2018 (Picture: Karen Ross)

A packed Centre Court at the Fusion 100 Ilkley Trophy in 2018 (Picture: Karen Ross)