THE Ilkley Trophy will be held this summer – but not in Ilkley.

The lack of a bio-secure bubble near the Stourton Road venue means that the tournament will keep its name for the week of June 13-20 but will instead be held at Nottingham Tennis Centre.

Ilkley would have staged a $125,000 ATP Challenger and $100,000 Women’s ITF tournament as part of the build-up to Wimbledon but the Midlands venue will now have two successive weeks of grass-court action.

The previous week (June 5-13), the Nottingham Open will be held there – a $250,000 WTA Tour event, where the main draw has been increased from 32 players to 48, and another $125,000 ATP Challenger.

However, it is hoped that Ilkley can again be the venue for high-class tennis in 2022.

The LTA press release stated: “Beginning on 13 June, the men’s ATP Challenger 125 and women’s ITF W100 combined Ilkley Trophy will move from Ilkley Lawn Tennis & Squash Club to Nottingham Tennis Centre for this year.

“This is to ensure a bubble, including accommodation, can be maintained on a single site over a two-week period.”

Switching to Nottingham is part of the LTA’s commitment to stage as much competitive tennis this summer as possible, despite Covid-19, especially as Wimbledon was the only one of the four Grand Slams not to be held in 2020.

The Nottingham Open starts the ball rolling in terms of pre-Wimbledon play, with the main event the following week being the cinch(correct) Championships ATP 500 tournament at the Queen’s Club in London and the Birmingham Classic WTA 250 event at Edgbaston Priory.

Wheelchair tennis will be held at both venues, as it will the following week, starting on June 19, when there will be a double bill at Devonshire Park, Eastbourne – with WTA 500 and ATP 250 events.

The Wimbledon Championships will be held at the All-England Club from June 28-July 11.

The LTA statement continued: “While it remains too early to say what level of attendance will be possible, the LTA is planning for a number of scenarios and remains cautiously optimistic that fans will be able to be present at all its summer events this year.

“The LTA is working closely with the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport, The All-England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), WTA, ATP, ITF, Sports Ground Safety Authority, other NGBs (national governing bodies), our host venues and numerous partners and suppliers in order to develop its planning for events that provide a safe environment for players, officials, volunteers, and spectators.

“The national governing body’s intention is for the events to take place, even if they are behind closed doors.

“In order to prioritise resources and reduce the number of COVID bubbles, for players, officials and volunteers that have to be created at different venues, a number of changes have been made to the Trophy Series this summer.

“These have been agreed with the AELTC, ATP, WTA and ITF as the most effective way of delivering a grass-court season and competitive opportunities for players, given the unique and difficult operational circumstances presented by COVID-19.

“We will keep these arrangements under review as the situation evolves, both within the UK and internationally.”

Scott Lloyd, chief executive of the LTA, said: “We know how much fans want to come back, and the sport isn’t the same without them, so we are planning for their return and hoping that circumstances will make that possible.

“The cost of delivering this planned calendar is double that of the grass-court series hosted in this country in any normal year.

“Sadly, this has meant that we have had to make some changes to our Trophy Series events, although we have also increased some draw sizes where we can.”

ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said: “Players and fans all missed grass-court tennis and these fantastic tournaments in 2020, and we look forward with cautious optimism to their successful return this year.”

Among the casualties of the ever-changing scene are the Surbiton Trophy men’s and women’s events and the Manchester Trophy women’s event.