Rising star Osaka set to light up British grass court season

Twenty-year-old Japanese talent Naomi Osaka, currently one of the hottest properties in tennis, has signed up to play all three of the LTA’s marquee grass court tournaments as part of her preparations for this year’s Championships, Wimbledon.

Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka of Japan

Osaka has entered the Nature Valley Open  – Nottingham (June 9-17), Nature Valley Classic (June 16-24) and the Nature Valley International (June 23-30) before heading to SW19 in search of her first Grand Slam singles trophy.

Osaka won her debut WTA Tour title last month at the prestigious BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, a giant-killing run which saw her continue her surge up the rankings to her current position of 22. Osaka followed up that breakthrough victory with a near-flawless conquest of Serena Williams at the Miami Open. Little wonder she is widely regarded as one of the most promising young talents in the women’s game.

“I’m excited about finding my feet on grass and playing these three amazing events. I really enjoyed playing in Nottingham last year and I like the British crowds,” said Osaka. “They know their tennis and they’re fun to play in front of. It’s been a really great year for me so far but I feel like there’s more to come and competing at these big events will be a really good test for me ahead of Wimbledon.”

LTA Director of Major Events and Competitions Oliver Scadgell said: “Naomi is an incredible talent and its no wonder that everyone in tennis is so excited about her rise. We’re thrilled that she’s added her name to the amazing line-up of players already set to compete in Nottingham, Birmingham and Eastbourne. This summer is going to be a real treat for tennis fans all over the country.”

For more information go to https://www.lta.org.uk/major-events/

Johanna Konta celebrates with the new sponsors

LTA ANNOUNCES NATURE VALLEY AS TITLE SPONSOR FOR ICONIC GRASS COURT EVENTS IN NOTTINGHAM, BIRMINGHAM AND EASTBOURNE

The LTA (Lawn Tennis Association) announced today it has reached an agreement with General Mills for its Nature Valley brand to become the new Title Sponsor for the LTA’s prestigious ATP and WTA tournaments at Nottingham, Birmingham and Eastbourne.  For the next three years the events will be known as the Nature Valley Open, the Nature Valley Classic and the Nature Valley International respectively.

The announcement sees Nature Valley build on its existing partnership with tennis following its entry into the sport in 2016 as the Official Snack Bar of British Tennis and building on its successful 2017 integrated campaign “The Court is Yours” which helped drive people to the LTA Court Finder to find their nearest court to play on. The award-winning campaign was supported through an ambassadorial partnership with British Number One tennis player Johanna Konta and helped contribute to Nature Valley becoming the UK’s number one Protein Bar brand in that period.

The headline partnership will provide Nature Valley and British Tennis with the opportunity to help get the British public active and playing tennis by harnessing the excitement that is generated through the events each year.

Scott Lloyd, LTA Chief Executive said, “We are extremely excited to extend our partnership with Nature Valley into the title sponsorship of three of our iconic summer grass court events at Nottingham, Birmingham and Eastbourne.  No other pre-Grand Slam circuit in the world can rival the long-standing tradition these tournaments embody, with former champions including the likes of Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and more recently Andy Roddick, Novak Djokovic and Caroline Wozniacki.  Nature Valley has been building on its commitment to the sport and this new partnership extension highlights the tremendous success of the relationship. We both share our goal to get Britain active and healthy.  Nature Valley will continue to play an important role in helping more people play tennis more often and creating more historic championship moments.”

Richard Williams, Marketing Director General Mills Northern Europe said, “At Nature Valley, our vision is to be the world’s most iconic snack bar brand so we are delighted to become the headline partner for such an iconic part of the global tennis calendar.  Having more than quadrupled our investment in the sport since we first started in 2016, this elevated sponsorship deal is a demonstration of Nature Valley’s unwavering commitment to British Tennis from the grassroots right to its premier summer events and represents our largest global sports partnership since the 2012 Olympics. Our global brand ethos is about encouraging people to get outdoors in nature and we look forward to fueling large scale tennis participation over the next 3 years and helping inspire the tennis stars of the future with an equal ambition to have a Nature Valley bar in every tennis kit in Britain.”

Fans have never been more engaged in British Tennis summer events, with ticket sales already up on average 50% compared to 2017 across all three events at Nottingham, Birmingham and Eastbourne.  Tickets are still available by clicking through: https://www.lta.org.uk/major-events

Johanna Konta – Nature Valley Open 2017 Runner-Up and current British No.1 said: “These tournaments provide me with the perfect pathway to Wimbledon. Last year starting off by reaching the final in Nottingham proved to be the best preparation possible as I enjoyed my most successful Wimbledon ever, and hopefully it will have the same effect for 2018.  As always I know there will be a really strong player field at the Nature Valley Open, the Nature Valley Classic and the Nature Valley International.  I’ll face some tough opponents in competitive matches, but I can’t wait to get on court and fly the flag for British tennis.”

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