For many of us, tennis is a sport we watch once a year when Wimbledon coverage hits our screens.
After all, there’s nothing quite like watching the best tennis players in the world battle it out on the pristine grass courts in the glorious British summer.
And even when the weather turns sour as it often does, there are now roofs in place over Centre Court and No. 1 Court to extend play into the night when necessary.
While Wimbledon is undoubtedly a cultural spectacle, much like the World Cup or the Superbowl, it’s a shame that it’s the only tennis event a lot of people tune in for.
Most of the top players in the sport, such as Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, will play around 15 tournaments in a year.
So if you’re a fan of tennis - watching, not playing - then why not see what other tournaments you might be interested in watching?
Wimbledon is one of the only tournaments to be played on grass, and while that’s unique, there’s also the excitement of the US Open hard courts or the French Open clay courts.
Seeing how the tennis stars fare on different surfaces and against opponents of various rankings can be a great way to pass the time if you’re looking for something to watch.
With that in mind, after the excitement of the French Open 2021, here are some of the best remaining tennis tournaments to look out for in the latter half of the year:
Wimbledon is where national British interest in tennis first began, with the first ever tournament taking place there in 1877.
The creation of lawn tennis a year prior is what led to the creation of the tournament - the first of its kind to be played on outdoor natural grass courts.
What started out as a tournament with a gentlemen’s singles bracket and nothing else, has evolved over time into what it is today: a cultural phenomenon.
Wimbledon transcends the sport of tennis just like the World Cup transcends the football on the pitch. People from all over the world flock to the small London town once a year to see the action in person, and the event is frequented by some of the biggest names in entertainment as well as British royalty.
The tournament this year began with qualifying matches from Monday 21 June - Friday 25 June, while the first round matches start the following Monday, the 28th June.
For the first time in 43 years, the home nation will go into the tournament with three seeded players. British number one Dan Evans, along with number 2 ranked Cameron Norrie and British female number one Johanna Konta will all be hoping to pull off an upset in the tournament and give the nation something to cheer.
Andy Murray, who previously held the number one ranking in the world, comes into this tournament as the 4th ranked Brit. As one of the only male British tennis players to win Wimbledon twice, he would usually go into the tournament as a favourite to reach the finals, but he’s undergone many surgeries in the past few years and slipped down to 119 in the world rankings.
Still, the British public won’t soon forget that the Scot ended a 77-year wait for Wimbledon glory when he became the first male British player to win the Grand Slam since Fred Perry in 1936.
The heavy favourite to win Wimbledon 2021 is current world number one, Novak Djokovic.
Aside from the tennis itself, Wimbledon is known as being the cultural event that brings together the who’s who of celebrities and royalty. Everyone from Hollywood stars Bradley Cooper to Brad Pitt has taken a seat on Centre Court, which never fails to draw the attention of the viewers and fellow attendees.
Strawberries and cream also steal the limelight of the competition, as the number one snack consumed at the tournament. Originally it was thought that the red fruit symbolised the transition into warm summer weather in England, which is why it was eaten around the time of the tournament.
Whether this is true or not, the popularity of strawberries and cream skyrocketed over the years and now it’s an obligatory part of the Wimbledon experience for many. In fact, the snack is so popular that it’s estimated that over 1.5 million strawberries are consumed in the two-week period in which the tournament takes place.
Roehampton Tennis Tournament
The Roehampton tennis tournament 2021 will take place at the same time as Wimbledon, with qualifying matches starting on the 27th June and the first round matches kicking off two days later on the 29th June.
While the London tennis tournament isn’t a Grand Slam, it has become a popular LTA British Tour competition.
If you’re in the London area for Wimbledon, it might be worth checking to see if tickets are available to see some up-and-coming British talent in action.
If you can’t make it to London or you live abroad, fortunately you will be able to stream the matches live on the LTA’s YouTube channel.
Due to COVID-19 measures, the LTA British Tour tournaments have to take place behind closed doors at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton. The good news that comes from this is that it’s accessible for everyone to watch online so you can supplement your Wimbledon fix with some LTA British tennis action.
Check the LTA on Facebook or Twitter if you want to keep tabs on the event, and see if tickets will go up for sale or whether it will be an online-only event.
Battle of the Brits
The Battle of the Brits tennis tournament 2021 will take place on the 27th of July, shortly after Wimbledon is over. It’s one of the biggest tennis tournaments in England, outside of Wimbledon and Queen’s.
So if you normally feel deflated after the Grand Slam, and you need an extra serving of tennis, then the British tennis tournament is worth checking out.
This is another LTA-run tournament led by Jamie Murray, a seven-time Grand Slam doubles champion and the brother of Andy Murray.
As the name suggests, this competition pits fellow Brits against each other to see who can go all the way and claim the top spot.
At the tail end of summer, there’s another huge Grand Slam tournament to look forward to the US Open.
Starting on the 30th of August, you will only have a month or so to wait after Wimbledon is over before you get your next major tennis tournament to watch.
This is the tournament that’s played on the iconic blue acrylic hard courts, which lends itself to a different style of play and offers novel challenges to the players.
The US Open is quite possibly the only tennis tournament outside of Wimbledon that someone who doesn’t know much about tennis would recognise.
It didn’t always go by the name US Open, though, as it was once called the US National Championship. The original tournament dates all the way back to August 1881 and featured both singles and doubles competitions for male tennis players.
Starting in 1987, the US Open became the fourth Grand Slam tournament of the year, which also made it the last. The tournament is played in the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center which is locating in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, New York.
Brit Jamie Murray won the Mixed Doubles tournament in 2019, which was the seventh Grand slam title and the fourth picked up at the US Open.
For the tennis pros, it isn’t just the Grand Slam tournaments that determine their ranking.
The ATP Finals as a tournament is a tier below the Grand Slams, making it a hotly contested competition that takes place at the end of the year. For some, it is considered to be the fifth Grand Slam due to its significance.
The tournament this year begins on Sunday 14 November and ends on the following Sunday.
The participants in this tournament are the top eight singles and doubles players in the world at the time. The rankings are taken from the ATP’s own leaderboards.
Roger Federer has the most singles wins in the ATP finals with six, so he’s the man to beat.
There are a lot of ranking points up for grab in this tournament too, on top of the bragging rights. This makes it an excellent opportunity for the players at the top to climb up the rankings even more just before the year is out.
What’s most interesting about the ATP Finals tournament is that it doesn’t follow the same format as the other competitions in the ATP tour.
Instead of a series of knock-out rounds in which a loss results in elimination from the tournament, the ATP Finals is made up of round-robin matches with each player competing against the others in his or her group.
There are two overall winners in each group, who will go straight through to the semifinals. Whoever wins the respective semifinals will meet in the grand final.
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