BritWatch is our regular Friday piece introducing where each of our British players is playing in the upcoming week, whether it be on the ATP/WTA tours, the ITF Futures circuit, or further down at national, junior and collegiate level.
Week 18 – 2nd – 9th May 2016
Guys, it’s May already. Where did the time go? Roland Garros is next month, and Wimbledon the month after, so pressure is on for all of our Brits to start racking up those points and get themselves in contention for direct entries, qualifying campaigns or even main draw wildcards. There’s a wealth of big ITFs available for the women and plenty of interest, while Madrid stages the elite event for this week.
ATP World Tour
The ATP Masters 1000 event in Madrid takes place this week, but with a hugely strong field, only Andy Murray takes part. Aljaz Bedene is third on the alternates list but is not registered for qualifying, so is unlikely to have any part in the proceedings.
A huge $100k + H Challenger takes place in Busan, South Korea this week. Having reached the semi-finals of the $75k in Taiwan last week, Liam Broady secures himself a special exempt into the main draw, where he will join unseeded Dan Evans. Alexander Ward is seeded third in qualifying, and will be joined by Lloyd Glasspool and James Marsalek. Joshua Milton was initially on the qualifying entry list but is nowhere to be seen in the draw. Meanwhile, at the €42.5k in Rome, perhaps in preparation for the Masters event there next week, Kyle Edmund is seeded second in the main draw.
No takers for the sole $25k in Nigeria, so everyone else is at $10k level – Neil Pauffley is in the main draw in Croatia while Luke Oakley is seeded in qualifying and joined by Martin Baker and Kristan Newman. Rhett Purcell once again takes on qualifying in India, while India brings brothers Curtis and Jay Clarke together in qualifying. In Mexico, Luke Bambridge is seeded second while there’s a welcome return to action for Farris Gosea, who hasn’t played since November and sneaks into the main draw. In Portugal, Marco Wright enters qualifying. The latest convert to British tennis Dan Dowson is the last direct acceptance into the main draw in Spain, while Samuel Roberts, James Allemby and Lee Tribe are all in qualifying. Richard Gabb should be seeded third in Sweden, while Joel Cannell is in the main draw in Turkey. Nicholas Nugent, Jamie Praditngam, Pierre Luiggi and Patrick Foley will all be hoping to join him through qualifying. Finally, Seb Butler, currently studying at the University of South Florida, has entered clay court qualifying in Florida.
AEGON British Tour
There’s another Tier 2 3-day event this weekend, taking place in Norfolk. Interestingly Joe Salisbury and Robbie Ridout are main draw wildcard entries, with Joshua Sapwell continuing to turn up and Sam Price likely to be fourth seed. There’s a couple of younger names to look out for too, with Will Davies having won a BT event this year and Sean Hodkin and Robert Leck having made some waves along the way.
The sole Grade 1 event this week brings four of our highest-ranked Brits into action. Ryan Storrie, Alexis Canter, Alastair Gray and Finn Bass are all over in Morocco and will all be seeded, with Storrie likely to be second seed. The rest of the events are all Grade 4 level: Adam Jones is seeded second in Turkey, with Zyaan Ahmed in qualifying, while Taylor Penny is in qualifying in Namibia. In Israel, Barnaby Smith is seeded second and joined in the main draw by Aaron Hepburn.
Four women may potentially be in main draw action in Madrid at the WTA Premier Mandatory: Johanna Konta (unseeded) is joined by Laura Robson (protected ranking), while Heather Watson and Naomi Broady are both battling through qualifying, having already won their QR1 matches. They need one more win each to secure main draw places.
There’s a host of ‘Women’s Challengers’ this week, with five events at $50k level or above. Amanda Carreras was due to enter qualifying for the $100k in France, but has missed out due to her excellent run in Switzerland this week. That leaves the highest-level event with British interest the $75k + H in Japan, where Katy Dunne is in the main draw and Emily Webley-Smith is in qualifying. At the $75k in the States, Tara Moore will grab a seeding in qualifying. Finally, at the $50k in Tunisia, Mirabelle Njoze sticks around after her $10k efforts last week to attempt qualifying, where she’s already won one match.
The rest of the events are all at $10k level: In Egypt, Samantha Murray will hope to gain her third counter and re-enter the WTA World Rankings with a sole main draw victory at least, while Eden Silva is in qualifying but may not be required to win a match to reach the first round, as there are only 25 entries in total. Finally, in Turkey, Harriet Dart and Manisha Foster are in the main draw, while Lisa Phillips is in qualifying – although again, with only 30 entrants, she may not be required to do much to make the main draw.
AEGON British Tour
A few familiar names at the Tier 2 weekend event in Norfolk: Aimee Gibson will be top seed in a draw predominantly filled with juniors: the likes of Anna Loughlan, Camille Verden Anderson, Anna Popescu and Mollie Crouch will provide the stiffest opposition.
As with the Boys, the main attraction for the Girls in the Grade 1 event in Morocco, with Jodie Burrage, Georgina Axon and Lauryn John-Baptiste all in the main draw. Francesca Jones is at the Grade 2 in Austria. At the numerous Grade 4 events, only one has British interest, with Erika Batista Dodridge taking part in qualifying in Namibia.