British Davis Cup star James Ward to begin his comeback in Shrewsbury
Great Britain Davis Cup winner James Ward is set to begin his comeback from injury by playing in the Budgen Motors GB Pro-Series tournament at The Shrewsbury Club.
Ward, 30, is to receive a wild card for the $25,000 International Tennis Federation event, which starts on the indoor courts at the Sundorne Road venue this weekend.
Admission will be free for spectators to watch a host of rising stars of men’s tennis from across Europe competing throughout the prestigious tournament.
Ward was part of the British team which won the Davis Cup for the first time in 79 years in 2015 and played in the early round victories over France and USA, when he memorably beat John Isner 15-13 in a fifth set thriller in Glasgow.
He also reached the third round at Wimbledon in 2015 – the year in which he achieved a career high world ranking of 89 – before losing to Canadian Vasek Pospisil in five sets.
GB Davis Cup team coach Nick Weal, who is planning to head to Shrewsbury to watch Ward, said: “James is coming back from a knee operation and we’re really excited that he’s playing again. He’s looking forward to getting back and has targeted Shrewsbury as his first tournament.
“He’s really looking forward to coming to Shrewsbury, which is always a popular tournament, and there will be some serious competition.”
Ward is one of a host of Brits scheduled to play in the event, alongside the likes of Ed Corrie and Marcus Willis, both former Pro-Series runners-up at The Shrewsbury Club, Lloyd Glasspool and rising Scottish star Aidan McHugh, 17, who recently reached the boys’ semi-finals at the Australian Open in Melbourne and is mentored by Andy Murray.
Many players will be travelling to Shrewsbury from across Europe to take part, including experienced Dane Freddie Nielsen, who represented his country in the Davis Cup last weekend and is a former Wimbledon men’s doubles champion.
Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori, 18, ranked as high as four in the world junior rankings last year, was also on Davis Cup duty last weekend.
Dave Courteen, the managing director of The Shrewsbury Club, said it promised to be another exciting tournament.
He added: “We always love hosting the Pro-Series events and we are delighted to be welcoming some great players to Shrewsbury once again. This tournament is now well established as one of the county’s sporting highlights each year and receives tremendous support from local tennis fans.
“Hopefully lots of people will come along and make the most of free admission and enjoy having the chance to watch world class tennis on their doorstep.”
Julie Piper, the tournament director for the Lawn Tennis Association, thanked Shropshire car dealers Budgen Motors for their financial support of the event and added: “Over the last 12 years we have seen some fantastic weeks of tennis at The Shrewsbury Club and I’m sure this will be another one.
“The club’s team continually support British tennis, not only in hosting these popular ITF events, but also with everything they do in helping to grow the game in Shropshire.
“The players on the tour really look forward to coming to The Shrewsbury Club with its excellent facilities and the warm welcome they receive.”
The tournament will get under way with the first qualifying round on Sunday morning, with the main draw matches starting on Tuesday morning. The singles final will take place on Saturday, February 17.
Pictured: James Ward, second from left on the back row, with the Great Britain team after winning the Davis Cup in 2015. Picture: Getty Images for LTA.