This spring – April and May – Wrexham are set to welcome three national and international tennis competitions, supported by free tennis ‘give it a go’ events for the local community.
The Tennis Europe Junior Tour – taking place at Wrexham Tennis Centre (1st – 8th of April) – is the first of three international tennis events taking place in the city. Expecting to host over 600 players from across the globe, Wrexham represents the Welsh leg of the Europe-wide event series.
Now in its 33rd year, the Junior Tour has become the tournament of choice for the launch of many a successful tennis career. Perhaps most notably, the Junior Tour has heralded the arrival of world-class tennis players such as Justine Henin, Roger Federer, Caroline Wozniacki, and Sir Andy Murray.
Players wishing to follow in the match points (or footsteps) of their tennis idols at this year’s Tennis Europe competition will be aiming to achieve coveted European ranking points.
Flying the flag for Wales, tennis prodigies Awen Gwilym-Davies and Niall Pickerd-Barua from Cardiff will be looking to ace the competition. Neither Awen nor Niall are strangers to international competition – with each of them competing at the renowned Junior Orange Bowl Championships in the USA last December.
Awen said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity for Welsh players to play against the best from the UK and further afield – which makes Tennis Europe events so special. We can share stories, experiences and learn from each other, and if Ryan and Rob want to pop along after the football, we’d be happy to have a knock with them too! A special pob lwc to all the Welsh players!”
Niall also commented: “I am really looking forward to playing the Tennis Europe event again, in Wrexham. I won the under 12 event last year, so I am obviously excited to compete. I know it will be tough, as I will be playing in the older age group this time, but I will do my best.”
Offering a further opportunity for players to compete at a high-performance level, April will also see Wrexham Tennis Centre host the highest-ranked tournament in Wales – the LTA (Lawn Tennis Association) Junior Welsh Open (8 – 16 April).
Players from across the UK – under 10s category to under 18s –– will have a chance test out their drop shots and pick up some LTA British ranking points as they strive to become Wales’s top players; following the likes of 2021 Wimbledon Wildcard Mimi Xu and Welsh number 1 Evan Hoyt.
The tennis tournament timeline continues into May as the international courts open once again, welcoming players from across the globe to Wrexham for the ITF World Junior Tour, from 20 – 26 May.
Tennis Wales Competitions and Event Manager Mark Lewis said: “Wrexham Tennis Centre is an important national, and international facility. The three upcoming tournaments, that will showcase the best in junior tennis, underline how Welsh tennis is thriving and continuing to contribute to local, national, and international sporting communities.
“We look forward to seeing many of the players at these events will go on to big things on the senior circuit.”
To further support and bolster the tennis scene within the local community – who are welcoming the tournaments with open arms – Tennis Wales, in partnership with Wrexham Tennis Centre and Wrexham County Borough Council will be hosting a series of free events later in the year, where children and families can pick up a racket and give tennis a go.
With tennis fever sweeping across Wrexham, July 10 – 14 will mark a school’s roadshow where tennis will be taken into 10 schools across the city, giving around 1000 schoolchildren the chance to try tennis.
Following the roadshow, Wrexham Tennis Centre will host an open day on 15 July, where families will be able to enjoy fun-filled tennis activities for free. There are also plans for a pop-up tennis court to be installed in the city centre.
Jonathan Miller, Health and Wellbeing Lead at Wrexham County Borough Council said: “Tennis is an important sport for us here in Wrexham. We are proud to have Wrexham Tennis Centre, a venue which attracts high level tennis events such as these.
“The centre is also important to the community, who can access the facilities weekly to play and socialise, while it a great place to volunteer and work in tennis. Playing tennis brings great physical and mental benefits and we believe, like Tennis Wales it’s important to ‘open up’ the sport to everybody.”