The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) has confirmed today that rising British star Freya Christie is set to feature in the main draw of WTA event for the first time after receiving a wild card into the Aegon Open Nottingham, starting in her home city on Saturday, 4 June.
The 18-year-old from Hucknall knows the Nottingham Tennis Centre – venue for the Aegon Open – better than anyone as it is her year-round training base where she works with coach Mark Taylor.
Her appearance in the locally staged event comes in her first full year on the professional circuit and comes a year after she reached the semi-finals of the girls doubles at The Junior Championships, Wimbledon, with fellow Briton Anna Brogan.
Christie, ranked 352 in the world and who was called up to the Aegon GB Fed Cup squad that travelled to Israel earlier this year, goes into Saturday’s tournament draw alongside a host of world-class names, including two former World No. 1 players, Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki.
British stars, Johanna Konta, Heather Watson, Naomi Broady and Laura Robson, are all also part of the star-studded line-up.
Christie heads into the WTA International tournament after reaching the semi-final of the ITF Incheon Women’s Challenger – a $25,000 ITF Pro Circuit event on hard courts in South Korea – last week. She has also picked up three ITF Pro Circuit doubles titles since November last year and was runner-up in the singles of the Aegon GB Pro-Series Shrewsbury event in 2015.
Speaking on the announcement, Christie said: “I can’t quite believe it – when I found out the news I was so excited. I can’t wait to make my first appearance in a WTA main draw, which is made even more special as it is in my home town and where I train. In my first year out of juniors I feel like I’m making good progress and I’m really enjoying being on the pro circuit. I just want to keep pushing the bar higher and higher. Being in the main draw of a WTA event is a big thing, but I don’t just want to celebrate being there, I want to win matches and produce on court.”
Head Coach of Women’s Tennis for the LTA, Jeremy Bates, said: “Freya fully deserves her wild card into the Aegon Open as she has improved her ranking significantly over the last nine months and performed strongly on tour. The addition of being able to compete at this WTA level event in her home town makes is a very special occasion for her and a tremendous opportunity. I look forward to coming up to Nottingham to see how she and all the British players perform on grass in the WTA event ahead of Wimbledon.”
The Aegon Open Nottingham (WTA) Tournament Director, Rebecca James, said: “This is an exciting moment for Freya and it is great that she has the opportunity to make her WTA main draw debut in her home city. This is an extra treat for the fans to see a local rising star alongside the world class field we have this year.”
Tara McGregor-Woodhams, Head of Brand and Sponsorship Aegon UK, commented: “The Aegon Open Nottingham was a fantastic addition to the grass court calendar last year and we are delighted to welcome many of the stars of the WTA to the city to begin their grass-court preparations.”
The Aegon Open Nottingham will see two tournaments take place in June, with the women’s WTA event being staged from 4-12 June 2016. Both tournaments will be an integral part of the British grass-court season, which features 11 international grass-court tournaments in eight venues across the country.
Fans can watch action at the Aegon Open Nottingham for as little as £5. Visit the LTA website for more details.