Queen’s Club: Women’s event dependent on grass condition for men’s tournament

Home » Queen’s Club: Women’s event dependent on grass condition for men’s tournament

Plans to reintroduce a women’s tournament at The Queen’s Club rest on convincing the ATP Tour the grass courts will remain in good enough condition for the men’s event the following week.

The LTA and the All England Club want to stage a WTA tournament at Queen’s in the first week of the grass court season from 2025.

If the ATP can be persuaded then the top women’s players would be gracing the courts of the west London club for the first time since 1973.

“We have got high confidence, and we have got significant evidence from the All England Club as to how grass courts wear over a two-week period,” the LTA chief executive Scott Lloyd said.

“The grass courts at Queen’s are perfectly capable of delivering two weeks of professional level tennis. We’ve got the data.

“We think it would be great for that swing of tournaments and for the women’s events, particularly from a visibility and profile perspective.”

The LTA says it has studied weather conditions, the density of the soil and potential wear to areas of the court, such as the baseline.

But male players are understood to be unhappy about the prospect of starting their week on used courts.

“The ATP are important partners of ours and we are working with them to try to ensure that the players are happy and comfortable that the surface can sustain use,” he continued.

“Typically players are pretty delighted to make it to the second week of Wimbledon and you don’t hear them argue too much about the court surface in that scenario. We are very hopeful that there won’t be any issues, but we are working through the logistics.”

Logistics include the availability of courts for men who arrive early to practise and the impact on the ATP qualifying event which is held the weekend beforehand.

The ATP has been open to the idea of more combined events in recent years but will have to balance that with the wishes of its members. Whether it has the legal cover to block the LTA’s plans remains to be seen.

A women’s event at Queen’s would replace Eastbourne as the sole WTA 500 event staged in the UK in the run-up to Wimbledon.

Eastbourne would still host a combined event but, once the WTA event is downgraded to 250 status, there will be greater restrictions on who can enter.

As a WTA 500 event is staged in Germany in the same week, no top-10 player would be allowed to enter Eastbourne – unless they are British, or the defending champion.

No more than three top-30 players would be permitted in total, and this at an event which in 2023 played host to half of the world’s top 10.

“Eastbourne sells out and we’ve enjoyed it over a very, very long period of time as a major tournament venue, but the reality of that location is that it is commercially limited to some degree,” said Lloyd.

“We just think that having a WTA 500 in week one, straight after Roland Garros, will raise the profile of top-level tennis in that period.

“It’s not about looking to concentrate our tournaments in London. We will still absolutely support our other venues throughout that calendar, and indeed as you see us doing with Davis Cup and Billie Jean King Cup – whether that’s Glasgow, Manchester, Coventry. We want to have that geographical diversity.”

There is no scope for an extra WTA grass-court event in the UK, and, as the LTA now owns the Nottingham Tennis Centre, it is the tournament in Birmingham which is likely to make way for Queen’s.

The Edgbaston Priory Club first staged a WTA event in 1982, when Billie Jean King won the title.

These discussions are taking place as the sport investigates the viability of a ‘Premium Tour’, which could create a series of more exclusive tournaments. But as that is a long way from becoming reality, other ideas continue to be advanced.

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