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BT Sport to show summer grass court tennis

Press Release   •   May 29, 2014 00:00 BST

Live coverage of Queen’s, Birmingham and Eastbourne tournaments 
and the “Rally for Bally’ 

BT Sport has signed an agreement with the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) to cover this year’s showpiece summer grass court tournaments in the run up to The Championships, Wimbledon. 

The deal will mean live coverage of some of the world’s best players playing in Britain on BT Sport for three weeks this summer. 

BT Sport will show exclusive live coverage of the Aegon Classic WTA event, which takes place at The Edgbaston Priory Club, Birmingham from June 9 to 15. It will feature former world No.1 players Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic, and last year’s Wimbledon runner-up Sabine Lisicki. 

In the same week, BT Sport will share live coverage of the Aegon Championships ATP event at The Queen’s Club, London with the BBC. The current Aegon Championships and Wimbledon champion Andy Murray has confirmed he will return to try and join John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick as the only four-time winners of one of the most famous trophies in tennis. Hewitt, World No.5 Tomas Berdych, 2011 runner-up Jo Wilfried Tsonga and world No.12 Grigor Dimitrov have all signed up to play. 

The following week, June 16 to 21, BT Sport will again share live coverage with the BBC to screen the ATP and WTA tournaments at the Aegon International at Devonshire Park in Eastbourne. The top seed will be world No.3, Agnieszka Radwanska with strong competition from the 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, former World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki, and rising American Sloane Stephens. 

On Sunday June 15, BT Sport will also show an all-star line-up of exhibition mixed doubles matches at the Aegon Championships and the Aegon Classic as British Tennis stages the “Rally for Bally” in memory of former British number one Elena Baltacha, who recently died from liver cancer. 

Andy Murray and Aegon Championships Tournament Director Ross Hutchins will play on opposing mixed doubles teams at The Queen’s Club, while 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova, Anne Keothavong, Tim Henman and Jamie Murray will all play in Birmingham. Proceeds will be split equally between the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis. 

BT Sport will also support the LTA’s four Great British Tennis Weekends, which will see thousands of park sites and clubs up and down the country offer completely free opportunities to play the game. The four weekends will take place between May and July, before, during and after Wimbledon. 

Simon Green, head of BT Sport, said: “We’re set for a glorious summer of grass court tennis on BT Sport. We will be bringing viewers the world’s best players at some of the world’s best grass court tournaments as they prepare for Wimbledon. 

“We’re honoured to be able to bring the Rally for Bally to a wider audience, helping British Tennis to celebrate the life and memory of Elena Baltacha, as well as raising funds for extremely worthy causes.” 
Michael Downey, LTA chief executive, said: "Our world class major events inspire tennis fans around the world and I'm delighted that BT Sport will be helping us to take these tournaments to an even bigger audience, as well as promoting the Great British Tennis Weekends. 

“This year, the Aegon Classic in Birmingham has been upgraded to a WTA Premier 600 level tournament, with more points, prize money and Top 20 ranked players, so it’s fitting and exciting that we have a new television partner in BT Sport that will devote more hours of live coverage to the event than ever before. By also sharing rights with the BBC for the Aegon Championships at The Queen’s Club, and the Aegon International in Eastbourne, BT Sport will tell the full story of our summer grass court tournaments in the lead-up 
to Wimbledon.” 

BT Sport is showing live matches from 21 WTA tournaments across the globe, including the five elite WTA tournaments – Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid, Beijing and Singapore. 

BT’s WTA coverage is hosted by Lynsey Hipgrave, former British Number One Sam Smith, tennis legend Martina Navratilova and former British number one Anne Keothavong. 


Notes to editors 


About the Aegon Classic 

The Aegon Classic is a WTA Premier tennis event on the women's tour held at the Edgbaston Priory Club in Birmingham, Great Britain. The 2013 tournament was the 33rd anniversary of the event, and its Roll of Honour features Billie-Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Maria Sharapova. Last year, the Edgbaston Priory Club underwent a £12 million redevelopment, which included a six court Indoor Tennis Centre, four championship grass courts and a new Centre Court. 

About the Aegon Championships 

The Aegon Championships is one of the longest-running tennis tournaments in the world, dating back more than a century and boasting a roll of honour which features Rod Laver, John McEnroe, Boris Becker, Pete Sampras and Andy Murray. Played at the prestigious Queen’s Club in London, the tournament’s grass courts are regarded as some of the best in the world. 

About the Aegon International 

Devonshire Park in Eastbourne provides an idyllic setting for the Aegon International, a combined ATP and WTA event with a rich history stretching back several decades. In recent years stars like Serena Williams, Kim Clijsters and Caroline Wozniacki have competed at the event which has been won 11 times by the great Martina Navratilova. 

About the Lawn Tennis Association 

The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) is the governing body for British Tennis. The LTA’s mission is to get more people playing tennis more often, and its role is to develop, promote and govern tennis in Britain. 

For more information on the LTA and British tennis, visit: www.lta.org.uk.