sport

Nottingham to stage WTA event

Nottingham will stage a WTA tournament in 2015, it has been confirmed.

The Nottingham Tennis Centre currently stages the AEGON Trophy and AEGON Challenge events which are part of the second-tier ITF circuit.

However, with the grasscourt season being lengthened in 2015, the WTA was always likely to want another grass tournament on its schedule - and on Thursday the organisation confirmed that Nottingham would effectively be upgraded to main-tour status. It will be one of the WTA's 'international' level events.

In 2015 there will be a three-week gap between the French Open and Wimbledon.

The Nottingham tournament will be staged in the first of those three weeks - the week beginning June 8.

The second week, the one likely to attract the biggest names, will see the tour head to Birmingham, while Eastbourne will continue to fill the slot the week before Wimbledon, which will start in June 29.

Both the Birmingham and Eastbourne events have 'Premier' status, meaning they carry more prize money and ranking points.

The decision means top-class tennis will return to the city seven years after the ATP World Tour last visited.

Philip Brook, chairman of Wimbledon's All England Club, said: "The creation of a three-week gap between Roland Garros and Wimbledon will establish a longer and more significant grasscourt season within the international tennis calendar.

"In addition to the added entertainment potential for fans, this will have the substantial benefit of building a grasscourt tournament structure of genuine substance and, critically, of allowing the players more time to rest and recover from Roland Garros, and then to prepare for The Championships.

"I wish to thank the WTA and all the parties concerned for their commitment and support in bringing this exciting prospect to fruition from 2015."

Minor tweaks have also been made to the WTA's 2014 calendar with the confirmation that their event in Brussels will not be staged next year. The tournament in Nurnburg subsequently moves position in the calendar - it takes Brussels' slot in the week before the French Open.

An extra tournament in Tianjin, China, has also been added. It will be staged in October in the same week as events in Osaka and Linz.