Welcome return of professional tennis to The Shrewsbury Club is a huge success
The crowds returned to The Shrewsbury Club as they successfully staged the 2021 UK Pro League Finals Week. Picture: Richard Dawson Photography.
The welcome return of professional tennis to The Shrewsbury Club has been hailed a huge success - both on and off court. A wonderful week ended with Sonay Kartal and Anton Matusevich, two rising stars of British tennis, crowned 2021 champions of the UK Pro League as they both received £15,000 in prize money. A capacity crowd enjoyed the two finals, with the hospitality events held during an enjoyable week also well supported. It was the first professional tennis event hosted by The Shrewsbury Club since Jack Draper won the Budgen Motors ITF World Tour M25 Shrewsbury tournament in September 2019.
Dave Courteen, The Shrewsbury Club’s managing director, said: “It was absolutely fantastic to have professional tennis back and we have received excellent feedback. It was a very enjoyable and successful week.
“We always love staging ITF tournaments and this was the first time we have hosted UK Pro League Finals Week, an exciting event for British players which took place for the first time in Surrey last year.
“We were delighted to be asked to host it by River Media Partners, the organisers, and it was magnificent to have a sell-out crowd for the two finals.
"The quality of tennis during the week was tremendous, with Anton Matusevich and Sonay Kartal, two names to keep a close eye on in years to come, very impressive champions.
“It was very exciting for the club to stage an event that was so widely televised live across so many different channels throughout the week, including BT Sport.
“It really is a credit to the town of Shrewsbury and to Shropshire that we are able to attract such high-profile events, with the fantastic support we receive from local sponsors so important in making it all happen.”
The local community embraced the tournament, with a range of hospitality events, staged in a large marquee opposite the main entrance to The Shrewsbury Club, attracting hundreds of visitors throughout the week.
Players and officials were welcomed to Shrewsbury at a party night, sponsored by Lanyon Bowdler/Connexis, which was also attended by club members. Shropshire tennis club players from around the county were given the opportunity to play alongside and against the competing professionals in a Pro-Am tournament during the week. Sponsored by Besblock, the event, organised by Tennis Shropshire, was a big hit, with the club players and pros equally enjoying the fun atmosphere on the indoor courts. Dave Williams, a member of Market Drayton Tennis Club, and Freya Christie, who went on to the reach the UK Pro League women’s final, were the eventual winners.
The following night, coinciding with the quarter-finals of the UK Pro League, a Codebreak/Team4You networking party night proved popular, with the Berrys/Morris Group lunchtime hospitality event on finals day sold out well in advance.
“There was a lovely atmosphere in the marquee for all the hospitality events held alongside the tennis,” added Dave. “It really adds to the overall success of the tournaments we stage at The Shrewsbury Club.
"With live music, street food and the opportunity to watch great tennis, it has a real festival feel.
“We enjoy working with local companies, including Beth Heath and her Shropshire Festivals team, to create enjoyable events.”
Another of the week's highlights saw more than a hundred children from nine Shropshire schools invited to The Shrewsbury Club to enjoy fun tennis activities as part of the club’s successful programme for local schools supported by Budgen Motors. The youngsters also had the opportunity to take part in a question and answer session with professional tennis players and to watch a match from the court-side stands during a busy day. Now Dave and the team at The Shrewsbury Club are putting plans in place to do it all again early in 2022 as they look forward to hosting another top tennis tournament.
“We hope to have an ITF event in February,” he added. “We are just waiting for final confirmation.”