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Monday, April 15, 2024
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Waiting game for club member Michelle Dzjachangirova as Budgen W100 Shrewsbury tournament starts on Sunday

The ITF World Tennis Tour returns to Shropshire this weekend – with Michelle Dzjachangirova, a member of The Shrewsbury Club, waiting to find out if she will feature in Sunday’s first qualifying round.

Michelle Dzjachangirova, a member of The Shrewsbury Club, regularly trains at the Sundorne Road venue’s indoor courts with Adam Wharf. Photo: Harry Fisher
Michelle Dzjachangirova, a member of The Shrewsbury Club, regularly trains at the Sundorne Road venue’s indoor courts with Adam Wharf. Photo: Harry Fisher

Players from around the world are starting to arrive in the town to play in the Budgen W100 Shrewsbury. Qualifying takes places on Sunday and Monday before the main draw matches get under way on Tuesday.

It’s the biggest women’s tournament, outside of the grass court season, to be staged in the UK this year, and has attracted a strong entry list of leading British and international stars.

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Dzjachangirova, 21, hopes to join them as she waits to discover if she will feature in qualifying.

Dzjachangirova, who represents Azerbaijan, knows The Shrewsbury Club’s courts well as she regularly trains at the Sundorne Road venue with Adam Wharf, the club’s head of talent.

Wharf said: “I’ve been here for nine years and over those nine years that I’ve known Michelle she’s always wanted to play in any of the professional events here.

“To be part of the W100 is one of her ambitions and she would be over the moon to do it. If she does, and there’s any local support that could come and help her and hopefully watch her play on Sunday, that would be even better.”

Dave Courteen, The Shrewsbury Club’s managing director, added: “It’s always great to have local interest at these events. We have not had someone from the club playing in the tournament for a while now, since Lauren McMinn and Luke Henley both featured. I know a lot of the club’s members would like to come along to support Michelle if she plays.

“It’s going to be touch and go as to whether she actually gets in the tournament. She is currently just outside the cut off point, but it’s very close and it depends if a couple of other players just ahead of her on the list perhaps aren’t able to come to Shrewsbury.

“We won’t definitely know until Saturday evening, but we are keeping our fingers crossed for her.”

Final preparations ahead of the tournament are taking place, with Dave confirming there is much excitement as the start of the event moves ever closer.

Marketa Vondrousova, who went on to be crowned Wimbledon champion just eight months later, was last year’s W100 Shrewsbury winner.

The prestigious tournament is part of the LTA’s Performance Competitions Calendar, which is designed to provide British players with the chance to develop on home soil through more meaningful playing opportunities, giving all players the widest possible number of competitive matches on the ITF World Tennis Tour.

Dave added: “We are delighted that the event is now here. The DMOS People tournament village is in place, with the Shropshire Festivals team doing a huge amount of work to get everything looking fantastic.

“We have an army of excellent volunteers helping out, while ticket sales are well ahead of where they were at this stage last year.

“We have more seating this time, but are still getting close to capacity on some days, which is really encouraging, and there’s less than 100 tickets left for finals day next Sunday.

“We are expecting big crowds, we are expecting a great tournament, and this is always the exciting part when it’s almost here but not quite.”

The British challenge in Shrewsbury is set to be led by Harriet Dart, a regular member of Great Britain’s Billie Jean King Cup team and currently third in the national rankings. She was ranked as high as 84 in the world last year.

Lily Miyazaki, who recently reached the second round of the US Open, and Katie Swan, are also both heading to Shropshire. They are currently fifth and eighth respectively in the British rankings.

The highest-ranked player in the W100 Shrewsbury is Viktorija Golubic, a silver medallist playing doubles alongside Belinda Bencic at the last Olympics, and a member of the Switzerland team crowned Billie Jean King Cup champions in Glasgow last November.

Golubic, who reached the Wimbledon singles quarter-finals in 2021, is currently ranked 101, having been as high as 35 last year.

French player Oceane Dodin, ranked 116 in the world and the champion of lower ranked Shrewsbury tournaments in both 2014 and 2015, will be second seed, followed by Australia’s Olivia Gadecki and Dalma Galfi from Hungary, who reached the third round at Wimbledon earlier this year.

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