Using Wimbledon encouraging a new event the grass-court tournament in Birmingham is being downgraded from next summer.
The Nature Valley Classic, held prior to Wimbledon, is now the largest championship played in the UK because being raised to Premier status from International over the WTA Tour at 2014, and has attracted the world’s greatest celebrities.
This year Naomi Osaka, Ashleigh Barty, Karolina Pliskova and Venus Williams played at Edgbaston Priory however, it’s continued to be overshadowed by the men’s event at Queen’s Club, and the massive outlay required in prize money has not yet been matched by comparable increases in ticket revenue or sponsorship, meaning the championship has been operating at a substantial reduction.
Birmingham will now have to compete with Berlin to attempt to attract players, though other changes add a new men’s event in Majorca along with also a proposed women’s tournament in Bad Homburg, Germany.
The other British tournaments in Eastbourne and Nottingham are untouched.
Outgoing Wimbledon chairman Philip Brook explained:”A strong and productive grass-court season is absolutely critical to the future of grass-court tennis and thus the potential victory of the Championships.
“Having labored to enlarge the grass-court season to be a meaningful difference between Roland Garros and Wimbledon, we’re happy to be creating these significant further investments to ensuring quality grass-court tournaments can be offered in any way levels of the professional game for your best interests of these players and the wider tennis family.”
The championship in Birmingham was held in 1982 and champions have included Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Maria Sharapova, Kerber and Petra Kvitova.
French Open champion Barty surpassed Osaka to get world, this summer by raising the trophy for the first time.
The decreased prize money commitment down from $1m (roughly #800,000) to $250,000 (approximately #200,000) – can enable the LTA to put more investment to community events around the contest.
Chief executive Scott Lloyd said:”We have worked closely with the All England Lawn Tennis Club about the programs for next season’s grass-court season.
“The Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham will be among the LTA’s major events following season and like most of our events – will provide opportunities for baseball enthusiasts to get closer to the game.”
‘s-Hertogenbosh (ATP and WTA) and Stuttgart (ATP) will still continue to sponsor ATP events in the first week, together with Queen’s Club and Halle (ATP) at the next week. An ATP 250 event in Mallorca will be added to the calendar at the third week, while Bad Homburg is set to host a new WTA event, which will be subject to consent, together with events in Istanbul and Antalya being traded.
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