The tennis legend has passed away (Credit: SoyKhaler)
(Credit: SoyKhaler)

The Rothesay Open represents an ever changing piece of history for our city.

First founded in 1887 as the Nottingham Championships as a warm up tournament for Wimbledon, it played under that name for 80 years until the start of the Open Era.

In its first few official years, some big names in the tennis world swung their rackets there, including consecutive wins for women’s tennis legend Billie Jean King, who won her 1973 final against Britain’s own Virginia Wade.

After a few years as a Grand Prix series event, the tournament lay dormant from 1978 to 1995, when it was re-established as a mens only tournament, with winners during that period including British big server Greg Rusedski and two-time Wimbledon semi-finalist Richard Gasquet.

But the tournament was put into disarray in 2008, when the ATP stripped it of its main tour status, demoting it to a Challenger event.

Credit: Renith R (Unsplash)

Nottingham City Council said they were ‘extremely disappointed’ at the decision, saying that the event had been partly responsible for stimulating interest in tennis in the city.

However, during this time the women’s side of the tournament was re-established and the event saw some stars of the future, including former women’s number one Ash Barty and last years Wimbledon runner-up Nick Kyrgios.

There was a brief stint back at a tour event for 2015 and 2016, but the event went back to Challenger status in 2017 and has stayed that way since.

But despite this, the event has routinely attracted big names of the sport, particularly from close to home.

Dan Evans is the reigning mens singles champion, which was his second title, and on the doubles front it is Jonny O’Mara and Ken Skupski, the latter of whom picked up his third title in the discipline in Nottingham.

Credit: Jeffrey Erhunse (Unsplash)

On the women’s side, 2021 Wimbledon finalist Karolina Pliskova took the crown in 2016, and the 2021 edition of the Open was won by Great Britain’s own Jo Konta.

This year’s edition, now known as the Rothesay, is taking place from 12 to 18 June, and the pieces are already being put together by hosts, the Nottingham Tennis Centre, as well as the Nottinghamshire LTA.

The tournament also represents a chance for local tennis leaders to network, get to know other figures in the area, as well as enjoy the best tennis Nottingham has to offer.

Credit: Renith R (Unsplash)

A spokesperson for the Nottinghamshire LTA said: “We have basically invited all the chairs of the Notts clubs to the Tennis Centre on Tuesday, June 13.

“So they get free ground passes which we pay for, and we invite them for sandwiches and refreshments at five o’clock.

“It’s a good chance for the chairs to get to know each other and the representatives from the Notts and Midlands LTA, and the free ground passes are a thank you for the work they’ve done throughout the year.

“The vice-presidents of the Notts LTA also get free tickets for finals day which we pay for, and we’ve invited about 15 people to centre court on finals day on 18 June.”

Laura Robson was announced as the new tournament director last year, and she will be working alongside the experienced LTA Tournament Director Rebecca James for the tournament.

The entry list will be published in the coming weeks, and tickets for the event can be purchased online from the Nottingham LTA website.

There are still tickets available for each day of the event, which can be purchased on the LTA website.