Emma Raducanu and Novak Djokovic amongst stars to grace tennis’s Liverpool International Tournament

From grass courts in a public park the place Novak Djokovic and Emma Raducanu shone as juniors to a the most important closing prevent prior to Wimbledon… How the Liverpool International Tournament has long gone from energy to energy because it celebrates two decades

  • Liverpool International Tournament is a grass court docket match arrange two decades in the past
  • Founder Anders Borg sought after to carry tennis stars to Merseyside each and every summer time
  • Steven Gerrard offered Marat Safin with the inaugural trophy again in 2002
  • Emma Raducanu and Novak Djokovic are amongst family names to play there
  • This yr, the pre-Wimbledon match was once staged on the Liverpool Cricket Club 
  • Dimitar Kuzmanov and Qiang Wang have been topped champions this time round

The banks of the River Mersey are far from the lawns of SW19 however Liverpool’s capability to supply possible tennis stars stays sturdy.

In 2002, Anders Borg had a imaginative and prescient that he believed would see best avid gamers get ready for Wimbledon in a town extra well-known for soccer. The twist, for this bold Norwegian, was once that he sought after the grass courts to be arrange on a public park.

Plenty idea his plans have been doomed to fail however Marat Safin received the inaugural Liverpool International Tournament two decades in the past – he was once offered with the trophy by means of Steven Gerrard – and because then a raft of megastar names have honed their talents within the match.

Anders Borg (proper), director of the Liverpool International Tennis match, gifts the winner’s trophy to 2022 champion Dimitar Kuzmanov on Saturday

Emma Raducanu, for example, alerted the ones inside the recreation to her immense skill when she received a junior match on the match as a 12-year-old in 2015, the primary victory on a trail that led her to closing yr’s US Open.

Others to just accept provides from Borg – a faithful Arsenal fan – come with Novak Djokovic, who was once a teen when he first set foot on grass right here, David Ferrer and Xavier Malisse, whilst Caroline Wozniacki was once every other graduate of this ability manufacturing unit.

During the closing 20 years, the development has moved house quite a few occasions and this yr it was once performed at Liverpool Cricket Club, drawing very good crowds over 3 days culminating in Saturday’s finals.

Borg, seen chatting to Pat Cash, set up the tournament initially on public courts 20 years ago

Borg, noticed chatting to Pat Cash, arrange the match to begin with on public courts two decades in the past

Dimitar Kuzmanov, the Bulgarian No 2, beat Marcus Willis 6-4 6-7 12-10 within the males’s ultimate and he’s going to head to the Wimbledon qualifiers this week along with his self assurance hovering from his first victory on grass. This, he says, may not be his closing discuss with to Liverpool.

‘This is a terrific match,’ stated Kuzmanov. ‘It’s my first time right here. I did not know a lot about it till I were given the invitation when I used to be in Paris for Roland Garros however instantly I stated ‘sure!’. What an opportunity to play such a lot of fits on grass and get ready.

‘I sought after to come back right here such a lot. The environment is so other, it was once tricky to get used to it with such a lot of folks shut by means of. But they’ve come to be entertained and it was once unbelievable. I performed a lot better, day-by-day.

China's Qiang Wang won the women's final on Saturday, beating Nadia Podoroska in two sets

China’s Qiang Wang received the ladies’s ultimate on Saturday, beating Nadia Podoroska in two units

‘I will say somewhat obviously there aren’t such a lot of puts that might be capable to draw in such a lot of just right avid gamers. It’s somewhat an success and I used to be overjoyed to come back right here and win. I’m in point of fact excited now to visit Wimbledon.’

Qiang Wang, the Chinese who was once as soon as ranked 12 on the earth, beat Nadia Podoroska 7-5 6-4 within the ladies’s ultimate; Wang is coached by means of Pat Cash, who believes this victory will assist along with her self assurance going into Wimbledon.

Reflecting at the match, Borg stated: ‘We have had a impressive 3 days of grass court docket tennis right here in Liverpool with some glorious performances by means of the entire avid gamers. It’s nice for everybody so to experience are living tennis and we would like all our contributors just right success in Wimbledon.’

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