British tennis stars serving up ace competition

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Dan Evans, Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski are back to winning ways after claiming the singles and doubles titles at the Schroders Battle of the Brits.

The tournament marked the start of a series of national events which will allow top British players to compete after several months off, due to the suspension of international competition. 

The brainchild of Jamie Murray, this first event welcomed the top British male singles and doubles players at the National Tennis Centre from June 23 to June 28. 

The group stages saw Kyle Edmund and Dan Evans qualify for the semi-finals after coming top of their respective groups, whilst Andy Murray and Cameron Norrie made it through in second place. 

British number one and world ranked number 28 Evans, beat Norrie, Paul Jubb and Ryan Peniston, whilst Edmund, the British number two, beat Andy Murray, James Ward and Liam Broady. 

In the semi-finals, both of the matches were decided by a championship tiebreak; Evans beat Andy Murray whilst Kyle Edmund overcame Norrie. 

Looking like he hadn’t been away from competitive tennis, Evans continued a perfect run of form by comfortably beating Edmund 6-3, 6-2.

Dan Evans (Image: LTA)

The high quality of tennis was continued in the doubles, with Evans and his partner Lloyd Glasspool eventually losing in the final against Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski. 

Before qualifying for the final, the eventual winners faced Joe Salisbury and Jonny O’Mara in close match which was decided in a championship tiebreak. O’Mara spent a year at the University of Stirling before going on to play on the professional doubles circuit, where he is currently ranked 54 in the world.  

The tournament proved to be a resounding success and was an opportunity for up and coming British players, like Peniston and Jubb, to train and compete alongside the very best. 

Speaking to the Lawn Tennis Association after the event, singles runner-up Edmund said:

“It was pretty much like a tour event, these conditions. It turned out really well and all the players put in a pretty good shift this week, and everyone else off the court put in a bigger one. Jamie (Murray) made it as safe as possible, the players were able to relax and go about their business without feeling like they were too restricted.” 

These opportunities to return to elite competition will shortly be expanded to the female side, with the first of a series of British Tour events starting July 2 and taking place at the National Tennis Centre. 

University of Stirling tennis scholar Maia Lumsden, who currently has a world ranking of 368, is excited to start competing again. 

Maia Lumsden (Image: The Herald)

“I’m looking forward to it, it’s been such a long time since I competed due to being ill and injured before lockdown  so it will be my first tournaments since last September. It will probably take a few events to get into things but I’ve really missed competing so I can’t wait.”

In addition to the British Tour events, there is also the Progress Tour Women’s Championships, which will start July 14 and be completed over the course of four days. The event will welcome 16 of the top British singles players and eight doubles teams- this includes Fed Cup players Harriet Dart, Katie Boulter and Emma Raducanu. 

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