Murray set to play Nationals when resurrected | Tennis Threads Magazine

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Murray set to play Nationals when resurrected

The LTA is considering resurrecting the British National Tennis Championships last played in Bolton in 2002 with Alex Bogdanovic, a teenager who never fulfilled his potential, and Anne Keothavong, who did, emerging as Britain’s national champions.

I think it’s a very good idea to bring back the Nationals, Tim Henman

First played in Telford in 1983 the event not only highlighted but gave home fans an opportunity to gauge the talent available in the country and, for the ensuing decades, it did just that.

Chris Bradnam and Jo Durie were the inaugural champions. Over the following years Andrew Castle, Jeremy Bates, Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski featured strongly as did Anne Hobbs, Sarah Loosemore, Annabel Croft, Claire Wood and Sam Smith in the women’s event.

A lack of interest by broadcasters is being given as a reason for the event being cancelled indefinitely. The news that it might now be revived is excellent and should be welcomed even if only to give home grown players a chance to test their talent amongst themselves, while giving fans a chance to see what they are made of.

The lack of high-profile and international events brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic which has also seen the tour review being extended to the end of July, is one of the reasons for the event’s possible revival this autumn at a venue yet to be decided.

If that were to be the case then a strong field could be expected with the likes of the Murray brothers, Jo Konta, Heather Watson, Dan Evans and Kyle Edmund. It would also apparently feature not only men and women, but competitions for juniors and wheelchair players.

Andy Murray has already indicated he would play as it would be an ideal step towards his return to fitness having not played since last November when he was side-lined with a pelvic bruise.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Tim Henman told Simon Briggs: “I think it’s a very good idea to bring back the Nationals,” the former British No.1 and world No.4 s “aid. “I have great memories of the event and of beating Greg! It meant more opportunities for tennis at home and some good match-ups for players in all categories of events.”

“It will be great if the Nationals come back,” added Rusedski, “as it was always one of my favourite events.”

The battles between the pair of them were the highlights of the Nationals as both were vying for bragging rights over the other. Henman last played it in 1997 while Rusedski stopped after the 1996 tournament.

“In 1995, I remember being 6-1 3-1 down to Greg in the final,” Henman recollected, “and coming back to win in three sets. The following year was an odd one. I beat Jamie Delgado in the semi-finals, then flew to Hanover to play a night match against Yevgeny Kafelnikov as a reserve in the ATP Finals, before flying back the following morning to play Greg again. I won 6-7 7-6 6-4.”






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4 Comments

  1. Kerry Grace

    I’ve found it odd in recent years that we’ve had junior age group nationals all the way through as well as wheel chair nationals and vets age group nationals but none for men and women.. Really odd. I remember at the time it was abandoned, patrice hagelaur appeared dead against it, arguing that domestic level players were getting too carried away with success there and not transferring that level of confidence and performance onto the international stage and that travel, atp points, ranking and prize money should be their career goals rather than winning the nationals and reaching the second round of Wimbledon.. I guess looking at players like Lee childs and Alex bogdanovic, he had a point. Compare British players today like evans, norrie, ward and Edmund and their rankings without the comfort of the nationals to players of that era who were equally as talented as this current group like childs, mackin, Hilton, wilkinson, Richardson etc and their best rankings which were all around the 150 Mark and it strengthens hagelaurs argument. Hopefully this re-introduction won’t have a similar effect on dulling and blunting players hunger and performance as it did in the 90s.

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  2. Kerry Grace

    I went to Telford several times. Was a great, great venue. Shame it wasn’t really supported by the fans locally. Then the Bolton arena was built specifically as the home for the nationals. This venue wasn’t as good as Telford imo but was at least a proper home. Would be interesting to see where the latest incarnation will be staged. I wonder if the LTA still own the Bolton arena? Would be really interesting to see how Jack draper fared against some of his more experienced rivals.. I reckon he could bloody a few noses.

    Reply
  3. Kerry Grace

    I didn’t know Chris ‘wow’ Bradnam won at Telford??!! Must have been scraping the barrel that year..

    Reply
  4. Kerry Grace

    Was always on the cards to be re-staged once the LTA lost the tour finals to turin. This will probably be a stop gap until the LTA buy a licence for an autumn atp 250 event from somewhere like Sofia or St petersburg as and when they come up for tender.. I wonder if the LTA still own that tent that they can put back up in battersea Park?

    Reply

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