Queen’s Club to host women’s tennis event for first time

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Queen’s Club to host women’s tennis event for first time

The Lawn Tennis Association has confirmed that Queen’s Club will stage a WTA Tour event next summer in a reshuffle of the grass-court season.

The governing body has cited a desire to raise the profile of women’s tennis and promote it to more people for the changes, which will see the Birmingham and Eastbourne tournaments reduced in status.

The new women’s event, which will take place in the week following the French Open, means a tour level women’s tournament is coming to London for the first time in more than 50 years.

It means the Edgbaston Priory club in Birmingham, which has staged a WTA Tour event since 1982, will now host a combined men’s and women’s second-tier tournament in the second week of the French Open.

The joint men’s and women’s event in Nottingham will move to the same week as the men’s tournament at Queen’s, with the combined event in Eastbourne the week prior to Wimbledon now at the lowest 250 level for both tours.

Last month, the LTA revealed that a sticking point was concerns from the ATP over the impact on its event, second only in status to Wimbledon during the British grass swing, of a women’s tournament the previous week.

Chris Pollard, the LTA’s director of major events and digital, admitted the arrangement could end up only being for a year if the male players are unhappy.

Katie Boulter and Emma Raducanu

Image: British players Katie Boulter and Emma Raducanu could play at Queen’s Club next year

“We have absolute confidence that we can stage a two-week event at the Queen’s Club,” he said.

“Obviously the Championships at Wimbledon prove that grass can withstand two weeks of tennis. We’ve got independent data that really provides a lot of evidence that the men’s week will not suffer in any way, shape or form.

“We’ve had many discussions with both tours in respect of that. (The ATP) have given the green light for the tournament to take place in 2025 and we continue to have an ongoing dialogue with them in respect of the success of the 2025 tournament.

Queen's Club

Image: The 2025 season will mark the second full year of the WTA’s revised calendar structure, which was introduced to better showcase the top athletes playing the top events and support sustainable long-term growth

“They would like to consider what happens after 2025 but we remain in very close dialogue with them on that point and remain very confident that it will be a permanent change.”

Disparities in prize money levels between the tours mean the men will earn more money at their tournament, while Pollard stressed the LTA is committed to both events being on free-to-air TV.

Meanwhile, the second-tier event at Surbiton that has kicked off the grass-court season will be scrapped from next year but Ilkley will continue to host a men’s and women’s tournament.

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