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International Pro Tennis returns to Sunderland

International Pro Tennis returns to Sunderland

Men’s and Women’s international pro tennis is set to return to Sunderland as the Aegon GB Pro-Series takes place at the Sunderland Tennis Centre between Sunday 7 and Sunday 14 February.

The Aegon GB Pro-Series Sunderland is an ITF Pro Circuit Men’s and Women’s $10k event with a great blend of British and overseas players on the entry list. All the world’s top players sharpened their pro careers at this level, and a number of the players in action at Sunderland are steadily working their way up the rankings in their quest to reach the top. 2016 will see a unique atmosphere with the finals of the Tennis Europe 12U Winter Cup (an International Team event) also taking place from Friday 12 to Sunday 14 February.

The women’s entry list is headed up by British number 5 Katy Dunne, who will be hoping to celebrate her 21st birthday with a good performance in Sunderland. Dunne will be challenged by a strong Belgian, Dutch, and French contingent, whilst former Wimbledon semi-finalist Alexandra Stevenson (USA) will also be returning to the North East.

In addition, the women’s line-up includes 16-year-old Katie Swan, currently ranked number 2 in the world as a junior, and closing in on the world’s top 500 at pro level. This exciting young player will be competing in Sunderland for her first event of 2016.

There is also potential local interest in women’s qualifying with Sabrina Bamburac, Grace Dixon from Whickham, and Amy Hoburn, from Newcastle all looking to compete.

The highest ranked player in the men’s event is French player Maxime Teixeira. The 27-year-old from La Rochelle, who has had a world ranking of 154, and appeared in the main draw of the French Open on a number of occasions, will be making his debut in Sunderland. Whilst the highest ranked British player, Dan Smethurst, is looking to win the title for a third time. The 25-year-old from Manchester, who trains in Nottingham, not only won the singles title in 2013 and 2014, but also gained his first ever world ranking point in Sunderland as a 17-year-old.

On returning to Sunderland, Smethurst said ‘I’m really looking forward to coming back. Obviously I have good memories from the last two years, plus I won my first ever world ranking point at Sunderland Tennis Centre. We are made to feel very welcome by everyone, and I hope to do well again this year’.

Teenager Daniel Bennett, and Jonny Binding, both from Sunderland, head up the local challenge in men’s qualifying, whilst Durham University undergraduate Dominic Beesley is also hoping to make it into qualifying.

Richard Joyner, Tournament Director, said:

“We’re really looking forward to returning to Sunderland. It is only two years ago when Britain’s Jo Konta was competing here, whilst 2013 champion Anna-Lena Friedsam, like Konta is now starting to establish themselves as top 30 players.

“Entry for spectators is free throughout the week, with courtside seating for the final’s weekend, Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 February. The whole week is a great way to see close up some of the world’s up and coming players.

“This year’s event will provide quite a unique atmosphere as from Friday 12 to Sunday 14 February the Tennis Europe 12U Team Cup is also being staged at the Sunderland Tennis Centre.

“With the top 12 & under girls national teams competing alongside the pro’s there will be a very special environment for players’, coaches, and spectators.

“The LTA North East team are running a local coaches workshop on the Friday to take full advantage of this.”

“We are made to feel very welcome at the Centre, and in addition to the matches Graham Fowler, Tennis Development Officer for Sunderland, is organizing a number of tennis activities during the week.

“For further information on this contact Graham on 0191 561 5901 or email graham.fowler@sunderland.gov.uk.”

Men’s qualifying is Sunday 7 and Monday 8 February, with main draw Tuesday 9 to Saturday 13 February and women’s qualifying is Monday and Tuesday, with main draw Wednesday to Sunday.

Entry throughout the week is free to spectators, whilst you can follow the action through live scoring at the Lawn Tennis Association.

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