The indoor tennis courts at the Sports Training Village host an Aegon GB Pro-Series ATP Challenger event for the first time from Saturday 19 March to Sunday 27 March.The competition is likely to attract players within the top-100 in the world and is open to spectators, who can watch the action for free. There's a kitty of 42,500 Euros in prize money for the men, with $25,000 up for grabs for players in the women's tournament.
Although the University of Bath has hosted ITF Pro-Series International Futures competitions before - one step down from the Challenger event - securing an ATP Challenger tournament a major coup. "It's fabulous that we've brought this level of tennis to the University of Bath," said Barry Scollo, Director of the TeamBath MCTA Tennis Academy. "It's particularly exciting that we're able to offer people the opportunity to watch an ATP Challenger tournament free of charge in Bath." The event is preceded by another big week of tennis that sees the Aegon ITF Pro-Series International Futures tournament return to the University of Bath. Futures tournaments have been held at the Sports Training Village each year throughout the 2000s. The Futures event, which is also free for spectators, runs from Saturday 12 March through to Saturday 19 March, with $15,000 in prize money available for men and $10,000 for women.
Both tournaments will feature men's and women's singles and men's and women's doubles and traditionally features some of the world's up and coming players. Scollo hopes that some of the TeamBath MCTA Tennis Academy players will progress through qualifying to play in the tournaments. "The added bonus of having two such events back-to-back at the University of Bath is that we will be able to see many of our senior academy players take on top internationals in their home environment," he said. "This gives the coaches a great opportunity to help the TeamBath MCTA players take the next step up. Hopefully we will have players in the qualifying and main draw each week. It also gives our younger players the opportunity to sign-up for qualifying and also watch high class tennis on their doorstep."
The University of Bath also hosts two of the biggest games of the season in the Fiat Netball Superleague this month. TeamBath host Northern Thunder - currently the only team to have won all their Superleague fixtures - on Monday 7 March. Then on Friday 18 March TeamBath host Hertfordshire Mavericks, the team that are currently top of the table and the only team to have beaten TeamBath this season. The entertainment ahead of both games gets underway at 6.45pm.
To buy tickets please go to http://teambath.ticketline.co.uk/ or call the ticketline on 0844 888 4412.
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS