World top 10 player Ashleigh Barty, who led Australia to their first Fed Cup final since 1993 last weekend – including two singles’ victories and the deciding doubles game alongside Sam Stosur – will return to defend her title at the Nature Valley Open in Nottingham, an LTA summer grass court event which runs 8-16 June.
Rising star Katie Boulter, who played a major part in Great Britain’s victory over Kazakhstan in the Fed Cup last weekend that returned GB to the World Group level for the first time since 1993, will also return to Nottingham where she was a quarter-finalist last year.
Earlier this year, Barty reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open and won her fourth WTA title in March when she won the prestigious Miami Open. The 23-year-old beat Karolina Pliskova in the final from a field of 96, including all of the world’s top 10, to catapult her to her current career-high ranking of No.9
Barty said: “I can’t wait to return to Nottingham this year to defend my title. I love playing on the UK grass courts and Nottingham is a fantastic way for me to start my Wimbledon preparation. “I have some great memories from this tournament over the past three years and 2018 was very special to come away with the win. I hope I can be there again on women’s finals day.”
Boutler, the current British No.2, has broken into the world’s top 100 in the past year and her thrilling three-set victory over Zarina Diyas at the weekend confirmed GB’s Fed Cup promotion with a 3-1 victory over Kazakhstan. The 22-year-old had a breakout year in 2018 and her run to the last eight in Nottingham last year included an impressive victory over Sam Stosur.
Boulter said: “Playing in the East Midlands, so close to home, is very special for me and I am excited to be returning to Nottingham to play on the excellent grass courts.
“Playing for my country in Fed Cup this year has given me some of the best moments of my career so far. Playing in, and winning, big matches is what I want to do week in, week out and I can’t wait to get back out on court in front of a home crowd.
“Nottingham is one of the highlights of the year for me and I am really looking forward to it.”
The Nottingham grass court tournament celebrates its fifth anniversary this year and other previous winners include Ana Konjuh in 2015, Pliskova in 2016 and Donna Vekić (2017).
The high-profile WTA tournament runs alongside the men’s ATP Challenger, which last year was won by Australian Alex de Minaur, who beat former British No. 2 Dan Evans in the final.
Nottingham Open Tournament Director, Rebecca James, said: “We are thrilled to welcome back Ash and Katie for another year in Nottingham. Both players had excellent tournaments last year and they are much-loved by the crowd in Nottingham.
“At the LTA we want to open up our sport to as many fans as possible and the Nature Valley Open is a fantastic event for anyone to come and watch top-class players in action and experience the thrill of live tennis at a fantastic venue.”
The Nature Valley Open takes place at the Nottingham Tennis Centre from 8-16 June 2019 – ticket prices start from just £12 for children under 16 and £21 for adults. To purchase tickets or to access more information about the Nature Valley Open, head to www.lta.org.uk/naturevalleyopen
Follow @lta on Instagram or @the_LTA on Twitter to keep up to date with the players journey to the grass courts of Nottingham this summer.