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As well as being a new stand-out tournament in the domestic tennis calendar, the UK Pro League tennis provides a vital opportunity for players to gain valuable experience on court and make money as they look to boost their professional careers, according to Jamie Delgado.
The only domestic UK league for tennis professionals, the UK Pro League sees players compete in a round robin format over 11 separate weeks in the hope of qualifying for the “Finals Week” in December.
With a prize money pot of over £500,000 the league provides huge benefits for those who take part, having been set up in 2020 to ensure players could get on court amid Covid-19.
Owing to the success of the event last year, which saw Wimbledon breakthrough star Emma Raducanu and Liam Broady win the women’s and men’s events, it was a straightforward decision to bring the format back in 2021.
And Delgado, Andy Murray’s coach and the mastermind behind the event, said: “There are slightly different conditions this year, with a lot of people out on the main tour.
“I think last year this was a godsend for so many players. They were not able to travel, or play, or make money. Everyone really appreciated the opportunity, and everyone was keen for it to happen again.
“The decision to try and set it all up again was an easy one really.”
The round robin and playoff format mean that every player is guaranteed to play multiple matches each week, an opportunity that is not granted in the ATP, WTA, and ITF events that tennis players usually compete in.
Week 5 of the UK Pro League, which took place last week at Aldershot Tennis Centre, saw players play five matches across seven days – and Delgado believes the unique format is one of the key reasons why the tournament is so attractive.
“Every other tournament everyone plays through the year is obviously a knockout, so you can travel long distances and potentially only play one match every couple of weeks if you lose in the first round,” he added.
“You can get out of that match rhythm fairly quickly, so this way you're guaranteed the matches. I think it really helps the players, especially if they want to get some more matches or if they are coming back from injury.
“There’s different reasons why people might find it beneficial. A lot of the matches across the year is something that all players strive for, so this way you get that without having to worry about losing in the first round of a tournament.”
With a prize fund of over £500k and Broadcast live on BT Sport, the UK Pro League is the only place where the British player group come together to compete across the full year.