- Britain’s biggest tennis stars are expected to be back in action next month
- A series of tournaments will take place in different locations including London
- Andy Murray could make his long-awaited return if he is fit enough to do so
- Jamie Murray, Johanna Konta, Kyle Edmund and Dan Evans will also feature
Andy Murray could make his long-awaited return to action in one of the tournaments in June
Jamie Murray is likely to promote a London competition in which he and his brother could play
Current British No 1 Dan Evans is back in training and is likely to feature in a UK competition
Events will be behind closed doors and will see Britain’s female No 1 Johanna Konta in action
Kyle Edmund is also back in training with at least two events expected to take place in London
Britain’s top players, from the Murray brothers to Jo Konta, are expected to be back in action next month as the UK’s tennis summer returns with a difference.
A series of around six or seven tournaments for domestic players in different locations is due to be announced in the next 24 hours by the Lawn Tennis Association.
Among them is one likely to be one promoted by Jamie Murray in London, which could see the long-awaited return to action of his brother, assuming that he is able to do so by his troublesome hip.
Dan Evans and Kyle Edmund, who are also back in training, should be among the other participants of what appears to be a souped-up version of the British Tour, which trundles along largely unnoticed in normal times.
The events are expected to be held behind closed doors for the moment, and will all be subject to government guidelines which are still being awaited.
The first tournament should take place late next month, probably just before what would have been the start of Wimbledon, which was cancelled on April 1.
Unlike Wimbledon, the surface used is expected to be hard court, in anticipation of that being used when the international tour returns. At present all world ranking events are off until the beginning of August, but this guarantees GB players will get some competitive play in the meantime.
At least two of the events are expected to be in London, and Queen’s Club has been discussed as a possible venue for the Jamie Murray venture. The majority will have players of both sexes, although some could be for just men or women.
The package of tournaments is set to include different tiers of prize money and competitiveness. One venue seemingly sure to be used is the National Tennis Centre at Roehampton.
Exact details are being finalised, but this brings tennis more into line with other sports which are looking to get back next month. Some form of internet streaming of the matches is anticipated.
The move comes as a more optimistic mood develops over the US and French Opens taking place in some form at the end of this summer.
After more upbeat dispatches from French federation officials and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo at the weekend the odds of them happening are shortening, although there could be restrictions in terms of the likes of player entourages.
Non-ranking domestic events are now springing up all over Europe, with two underway this week in Austria and the Czech Republic, featuring players like Dominic Thiem and Petra Kvitova.
The British tournaments come at a time when the current crisis has had, perhaps ironically, the effect of delivering a surge in tennis participation in England since courts were reopened nearly a fortnight ago.
The weather and the sport’s social distancing qualities are among factors working in its favour.
Online booking systems at public facilities have been recording rises of 400 per cent or more in court usage, while there is anecdotal evidence of membership applications to clubs also enjoying a significant boost.
Sadly this continues to by-pass Scotland and Wales, where courts remain closed until at least later this week.