Birmingham & Black Country

Aegon Classic tennis tournament boosts Birmingham

Li Na
Image caption Li Na, pictured at the French Open, won last year's event

Tennis players are heading to Birmingham for a tournament that organisers say is worth "as much as £9.3m a year" to the local economy.

The Aegon Classic event for women in being held at the Edgbaston Priory Club between 6 and 12 June.

The annual pre-Wimbledon grass tournament celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.

It was first staged at the club in 1982 when it was called the Edgbaston Cup and was won by Billie Jean King.

Roger Draper, chief executive of the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), said the event delivered "world class tennis" to Birmingham.

"Now in its 30th year, the tournament has really established itself on the Birmingham social calendar attracting more and more people each year.

'Economic impact'

"It brings more than £9m to the city each year and long may that continue."

Director of Marketing Services for Visit Birmingham, Emma Gray, welcomed the tournament, describing it as an important event for the city that had a "significant economic impact".

Tournament director Patrick Hughesman said: "To have a Women's Tennis Association (WTA) event here is something really special... it means so much for these players to win a WTA title, so they'll be battling [it] out.

In March, the Edgbaston Priory Club was given the go ahead for a multimillion-pound project to create new facilities.

Mr Draper said: "The LTA is investing £5m into this redevelopment which, as well as providing a first class venue for the Aegon Classic, will also provide access to tennis to the local community for generations to come."

BBC WM will have coverage of the event on 95.6FM and on DAB.

Around the BBC

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites