World class tennis will make a swift return to Shropshire early next year thanks to The Shrewsbury Club being chosen to host a high-profile women’s tournament.
The Sundorne Road venue has been selected by the Lawn Tennis Association to stage a prestigious $60,000 event in February.
It will start just a few days after Great Britain’s first home tie in the Fed Cup – to be played at the University of Bath – for a quarter of a century.
Leading British players and top international stars are expected to feature in a strong Shrewsbury line up for the event which will take place between February 11-17.
The tournament will feature evening matches, as well as a busy daytime schedule, with extra stadium seating to accommodate the anticipated bigger crowds.
The invitation to host the tournament follows The Shrewsbury Club successfully staging a number of smaller $25,000 GB Pro-Series events on its indoor courts.
Dave Courteen, The Shrewsbury Club’s managing director, stressed it’s very exciting news for Shropshire tennis fans.
He said: “There’s lots to look forward to and to plan for as this is a much higher level of tournament.
“We have previously welcomed many players ranked outside the world’s top 150, rising stars that are on their way up.
“But this event is set to feature more established players, some that will already be well known names, with much higher rankings, so it’s really exciting.
“Evening matches will be in the schedule for the first time, which will allow spectators the chance to come and watch the tennis after work.
“Hospitality will also be available on a number of evenings to allow the opportunity to showcase the best Shropshire has to offer in terms of live music and food alongside high-quality tennis.
“There will be free admission until the quarter finals, with tickets then available for the advanced stages of the tournament, a requirement of the International Tennis Federation.”
He added: “It is a testament to how hard the team at The Shrewsbury Club work during the tennis tournaments and how everyone pulls together that we have been selected to host a $60,000 event.
“There are very few at this level held in the UK, so for The Shrewsbury Club to be chosen is a huge honour.
“It also shows just how much the town engage with the tennis tournaments. We are hugely grateful to Tennis Shropshire, the clubs locally, and all the tennis fans that come along and watch.
“It is because we get such big turn outs to our events that the LTA want us to host bigger events.”
The tournament will also be live streamed around the world via the ITF website.
Julie Piper, the tournament director for the LTA, said it promised to be a high-quality tournament which is likely to attract some top players.
“I think we will have a strong field with the Fed Cup tie at the University of Bath leading into it,” she added. “We could potentially have some players currently in the top 100 in the world taking part.”