Our world-class tennis courts played host to the UK Pro Series and Classic Tournament this summer, bringing some welcome live tennis to a season impacted by COVID-19.
As one of the most prestigious tennis and racquets clubs in Surrey, St George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club features many top-class tournaments throughout the year, including ITF and LTA graded events.
This year with the fixture calendar hit by the global coronavirus pandemic, the Club stepped in to host a 6 week tournament which offered a lifeline to professional players and viewers missing top-level action.
Introducing a new competition format
The UK Pro Series and Classic ran from 6 July to 16 August and featured 24 leading players including Liam Broady, Ryan Peniston, James Ward, Harriet Dart, Emma Raducanu, Jodie Burrage and our own local player, Emily Appleton.
The new competition format was conceived by Jamie Delgado, Andy Murray’s coach, and organised by River Media Partners (RMP), a newly formed sport media company.
Players competed in five separate week-long qualifying events which led up to the final “Classic” week. Prize money was available for every match and games were televised on Eurosport and Live Now (free to air) for tennis fans to enjoy at home.
Creating a safe yet spectacular environment
Before the event could go ahead, RMP worked with the LTA and the Club to ensure everything adhered to the Stage 4 ‘Elite Sport – Return to Domestic Competition Guidance’ produced by the UK Government.
Luckily, the Club had been busy during lockdown and after restrictions lifted in England. The tennis courts had been beautifully maintained and were ready for action, and the Club had even moved gym equipment outside as one of the few health clubs in Surrey to welcome back members.
To keep everyone safe during the tournament, RMP carried out temperature checks and captured track and trace details for everyone entering the tournament site. The layout was designed to comply with social distancing rules, and players were escorted by buggy to our outdoor training facilities to minimise contact with people from outside the tournament ‘bubble’.
An inspiring celebration of world-class tennis
The whole tournament ran very smoothly, even when a heatwave briefly stopped thermometers working, and there was not one positive COVID-19 result throughout.
Liam Broady, number 8 in the UK rankings, and Emma Raducanu, the 17-year old rising star of British tennis, were crowned the first two UK Pro Classic champions, each receiving an iconic golden pineapple trophy after 42 continuous days of elite competitive tennis.
From inception to the first match, the whole event was planned in less than two months. The outstanding collaboration between RMP, Club staff and members proved to be indispensable to the success of the tournament, and it is hoped it will become a permanent fixture in the British tennis calendar in the years to come.
“We are delighted to have hosted such a prestigious tournament,’ said Miles Hill CEO of St George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club, “I am proud of the way the Club worked so closely with RMP, media partners, tennis professionals and members to put on such a festival of tennis.”
“The UK Pro Series and Classic Tournament is an event that will last long in the memory for inspiring our younger members and offering a ray of sunshine in an unusual summer for tennis”.
Please get in touch on 01932 843541 or firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about the Club, the facilities on offer and membership options.