CHARLIE Maunder, tournament director for the Ilkley Trophy, has expressed his regret over the cancellation of the pre-Wimbledon tournament due to the coronavirus.

The ATP Challenger and ITF Women’s Futures event was due to be held at Ilkley Lawn Tennis & Squash Club from June 15-21 - two weeks before Wimbledon, which has also bitten the dust.

Maunder, who is also club manager at Ilkley LT&SC, said: “It’s obviously disappointing that we won’t be able to welcome everyone to the club for the Ilkley Trophy this summer, but everyone involved understands that keeping healthy and safe is the top priority.

“The Trophy has become a real highlight of the year for the local community; for tennis fans, volunteers, the young people involved in the outreach programme and ball crew, as well as for the players themselves and the club.

“We will, instead, look forward to next year, when we will see the players and fans return for what will certainly be a celebratory Ilkley Trophy 2021.”

The Lawn Tennis Association, in conjunction with the All England Club, the ITF, ATP and WTA, announced the cancellation earlier this month, following the suspension of professional tennis due to the escalating coronavirus pandemic.

As well as the Ilkley Trophy, other LTA summer grass-court events, including the Fever-Tree Championships at The Queen’s Club, the Nature Valley International at Eastbourne, the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham and the Nature Valley Open in Nottingham have also been called off, with professional tennis in lockdown until at least July 13.

Also cancelled are other ITF Trophy Series events of parallel standard to Ilkley staged by the LTA, such as Surbiton (May 31-June 7) and Manchester (June 8-14).

Anyone who has tickets for Ilkley, Manchester or Surbiton can get an automatic refund via The Ticket Factory, with details being sent via email or letter from the ticketing providers.