The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC) has detailed a series of strategic investments in the grass-court season, including a new event in Mallorca, as part of plans to improve preparations for players ahead of the Wimbledon grand slam.
The pre-Wimbledon grass-court season was expanded by an extra week in 2015 and since then the AELTC has been working to further improve the opportunities for players in the lead-up to its showpiece tournament.
In recent years, the AELTC has worked with the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) on the future of the grass-court season in Britain, investments into new grass courts in Stuttgart and Mallorca, support of the existing event in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, and the expansion of the junior grass-court season to three weeks.
Under the new investments announced today (Wednesday), the AELTC will become owner, rights or license-holder of four new or relocated tournaments and continue to support existing pre-Wimbledon tournaments.
The AELTC’s announcement coincides with the news that a new grass-court Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Tour event will debut in Mallorca from 2020. The ATP 250 tournament will replace the event previously held by Antalya in Turkey.
The first edition of the new event will take place from June 20-27 next year at Santa Ponca and feature a prize fund of €900,000 ($995,000). The AELTC has partnered with to deliver the event, which will be the first ATP Tour tournament in Mallorca since 2002.
The AELTC has proposed that no changes be made to Week 1 of the grass-court season, meaning the WTA International event in Nottingham, the combined ATP 250/WTA International in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and the ATP 250 in Stuttgart will remain in place.
Week 2 will see a new WTA Premier event debut in Berlin as the sanction transfers from Birmingham, which will instead host a flagship International event that has been transferred from Mallorca. The ATP 500s in London and Halle will remain in place.
Week 3 will include the aforementioned ATP 250 event in Mallorca, as well as a proposed new WTA International event in Bad Homburg, Germany, which is in the process of seeking WTA Board approval. There will be no change to the WTA Premier and ATP 250 events in Eastbourne.
Philip Brook CBE, AELTC chairman, said: “A strong and successful grass-court season is absolutely critical to the future of grass court tennis and thus the future success of The Championships.
“Having worked to expand the grass-court season to be a meaningful gap between Roland-Garros and Wimbledon, we are pleased to be making these significant further investments into ensuring that quality grass-court tournaments can be provided at all levels of the professional game for the best interests of the players and the broader tennis family.”