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Tennis - 09. March 2010.

International Tennis returns to Bath

A total prize fund of $25,000 is up for grabs at the annual Lawn Tennis Association Pro-Series tournament, once again attracting a high quality field of players from around the world to the Sports Training Village.

The tournament, sponsored by AEGON, is the biggest held each year at the University’s impressive eight-court indoor tennis complex and will include players ranked inside the top 200 from around the world.  As always, the tournament features men's and women's singles and doubles competitions.

In a truly international field, Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands, 187 in the world rankings, is seeded one for the men’s singles with Jan Minar of the Czech Republic, a semi-finalist last year, seeded two.

Claire Feuerstein from Belarus, currently 175 in the women’s rankings, is top seed in the women’s singles with France’s Stephanie Vongsouthi, winner of last year’s tournament, number two seed.
 
But there will be plenty of British interest too with Dan Evans, Jamie Baker and Melanie South leading the way. Evans returns to action after featuring in Britain’s Davis Cup defeat to Lithuania at the weekend and is seeded four. Dovydas Sakinis, who featured in the Lithuanian team, must go through qualifying to reach the main draw.

Josh Goodall, winner of the men’s singles at the same event in 2008, and former TeamBath player Richard Bloomfield, the 2007 singles champion, are also back as are ex-TeamBath girls, Jade Curtis and Emily Webley-Smith, who are seeded fifth and 11th respectively for the women’s draw.
 
Several TeamBath and ex-TeamBath players will be hoping to make their mark in this year’s tournament at the University's LTA International High Performance Centre where they currently train or have trained in the past. Some will have to battle their way through the qualifying competition, but Somerset’s 18-year-old, Richard Gabb, has been handed a wild card into main draw on the back of his recent successes at home and abroad.
 
TeamBath’s Director of Tennis, Barry Scollo, said: “Richard has made great strides forward this past year and playing in event’s like this can only increase his experience of the professional game.  We’re hoping he’ll push on in 2010 and continue TeamBath’s tradition of producing players of the future.”

The tournament gets underway on Sunday, 14th March with qualifying rounds for the men's and ladies' singles competitions. The main draw competitions start on Tuesday 16th March, climaxing with finals on Saturday and Sunday, 20th and 21st.

Spectators are welcome to watch the action; admission is free.  “This is a good opportunity for junior and club players to see some world class tennis on their doorstep,” Scollo added.

The University of Bath has one of the leading university sports departments in the UK. Under its TeamBath brand, its success is based on its staff's expertise and dedication, and its excellent facilities, which are used by both the community and elite athletes alike. Their most recent star is Amy Williams, gold medal winner of the bob skeleton event at last month’s Winter Olympics.
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