It may well be classified as an Exhibition Tournament with no ranking points, but the contestants lining up for Battle of Brits sponsored by Schroeders will be treating it very seriously for it not only gives the players a chance to step out of the numbness caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but bragging rights within the home game.
The main attraction on June 23 at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, will be the return of Andy Murray who has not played competitive tennis since the Davis Cup Finals in Madrid last November due to a bruised pelvic bone.
The two-time Wimbledon champion had hoped to make his return last April but the emergence of Covid-19 ended that hope by causing the tour’s suspension until possibly, August.
Murray is set to face James Ward, Liam Broady and Kyle Edmund having been drawn into the Tim Henman Group while the Greg Rusedski Group features Dan Evans, the current British No.1 with Jay Clarke, Cameron Norrie and Jack Draper.
Jamie Murray, organiser of the event, on pulling Evan’s name out of the hat, immediately dubbed the group as the ‘Group of Death’ and his younger brother as the ‘One hip Wonder’.
In the doubles, Jamie Murray and partner Neal Skupski landed in the Paul Hutchins group where the pair will face Broady and Norrie as well as Evans and Lloyd Glasspool.
In the Cathie Sabin group, Edmund will team up with Draper to face Dom Inglot and Clarke, plus Joe Salisbury and Jonny O’Mara.
There will be no spectators but the action of the round robin groups, semi-finals and final can be followed on Amazon Prime.
The tournament, which is supported by the Lawn Tennis Association, kicks off a run of events at the National Tennis Centre, with the British Tour starting on July 3 and the women’s Progress Tour on the 13th July.