A History of Nottingham Open Tennis

9 June 17 words: Gav Squires

Alongside Eastbourne and Queens, the Nottingham Open is one of the premier grass-court tournaments held in this country in the run-up to Wimbledon. But does success in Nottingham translate to success in London? We have a look back at past finalists to see how they got on…

In 1970, Stan Smith, he of awesome trainers fame, defeated Chauncey Steele III in the final. While Chauncey was knocked out in the first round at Wimbledon, seventh seed Smith made it to the fourth round where he was defeated by Roy Emerson.

1971 saw Chilean Jaime Fillol triumph in Nottingham. He made it through to the third round at Wimbledon before third seed Ken Rosewall beat him. His opponent in the Nottingham final, Greg Perkins, didn't make it past the qualifiers at SW19.

The 1970s were a great time for Australian tennis. Aussie Geoffrey Masters and Indian Premjit Lall shared the Nottingham accolade after the final was abandoned due to rain. Masters and Lall were both knocked out in the second round at Wimbledon.

In 1973, Eric Van Dillen beat Frew McMillan in the great rhyming names final. Van Dillen made it to the second round at Wimbledon while Frew lost in the first round.

1974 saw Stan Smith victorious again as he defeated Russian Alex Metreveli as the cold war came to Nottingham. Smith lost in the semi-final in London to Ken Rosewater; that year's runner-up. Metreveli had been runner-up at Wimbledon himself the previous year, and made it to the quarter finals.

Dutchman Tom Okker won in 1975, with Tony Roche from Australia as the defeated finalist. Okker made it through to the quarter-finals while Roche lost in the semi-finals to Jimmy Connors who came runner-up that year.

1976 saw the great Jimmy Connors play tennis bad boy Ilie Nastase but the match was abandoned at one set apiece. Nastase lost in the final at Wimbledon while holder Connors was defeated in the quarter-finals.

Rain was the victor in 1977. Tim Gullikson and Jaime Fillol had made the final but the weather had other ideas. American Gullikson got to the fourth round while Chilean Fillol lost in the first round.

That washout would be the last tournament until 1995 when Javier Frana defeated Todd Woodbridge. Frana reached the third round as did Woodbridge although the Australian did win the men's doubles competition.

Jan Siemerink was the 1996 champion with Sandon Stolle the runner-up. Siemerink went out in the first round but Stolle made it to the third.

1997 finally saw a British winner as Greg Rusedski was triumphant over Karol Kucera in the final. That year Greg had his best ever Wimbledon, making it through to the quarter-finals, losing to eventual runner-up Cedric Pioline. Kucera, on the other hand, lost in the first round.

Jonas Bjorkman won in 1998 over Zimbabwean Byron Black. Both players were defeated in the third round of the Wimbledon men's singles, with Black losing to Tim Henman.

1999 saw Cedric Pioline win the trophy by beating Kevin Ullyet. Pioline advanced to the quarter-finals before he was defeated by Tim Henman. Ullyet, more of a doubles specialist, didn't enter the Wimbledon singles in 1999.

Byron Black was back in the final in 2000, losing to Sebastian Grosjean. Black made it as far as the quarter final at Wimbledon but Grosjean went out in the first round.

Thomas Johansson won in 2001 beating Harel Levy. Johansson lost in the second round at Wimbledon to Andy Roddick while Levy was knocked out in round one.

2002 saw Bjorkman win again, this time against Australian Wayne Arthurs. At Wimbledon, Bjorkman was incredible unlucky to get drawn against Leyton Hewitt in the first round, who would go on to win the title. Arthurs managed to make it to the fourth round though.

Greg Rusedski was back in 2003 beating the brilliantly named Mardy Fish. Rusedski lost to Andy Roddick, the number five seed, in the second round but Fish made it further getting to round three, losing to eventual champion Roget Federer.

Paradorn Srichaphan became the first Thai winner in 2004 defeating Thomas Johansson. However, he went out in round one while Johansson got through to the third round.

In 2005, Richard Gasquet won, with Max Mirnyi the runner-up. The Frenchman made it through to round four, as did Mirnyi, before losing to Thomas Johansson.

Gasquet successfully defended his title the following year, beating Jonas Bjorkman in the final. In round one at Wimbledon, Gasquet was defeated by the all-conquering Roger Federer, on his way to his fourth straight championship. Bjorkman reached the semi-finals but was also beaten by Federer.

Ivo Karlovic won in 2007, beating Arnaud Clement. Despite that success, Karlovic went out in the first round. Clement also went out in the first round, losing to fellow Frenchman Nicolas Mahut.

The Croat followed that up with victory in 2008 too beating Fernando Verdasco. Karlovic was seeded eighteenth for Wimbledon but for the fourth straight year, he went out in the first round. Verdasco did better, reaching the fourth round.

After another two fallow years, the tournament returned on the Challenger Tour in 2011. Dudi Sela was the champion beating Jeremy Chardy. Sela reached the second round with Chardy losing in the first.

Grega Zemlja won in 2012, defeating Karol Beck. Zemlja made it to the second round at Wimbledon but Beck went out in the first.

2013 saw Steve Johnson triumph over Ruben Bemelmans. His Wimbledon debut was short-lived as he went out in the first round. Bemelmans made it through two rounds of qualifying but didn't get any further.

Nick Kyrgios was the 2014 champion with countryman Samuel Groth in second. Kyrgios got through to the quarter-finals in his first Wimbledon appearance but Groth went out in the opening round.

2015 saw a return to the main ATP tour and Denis Istomin beat Sam Querrey in the final. Istomin went out in the first round though, but Querrey made the second round before losing to that man Federer.

Steve Johnson was triumphant again last year, beating Pablo Cuevas. He followed that by making it to the fourth round at Wimbledon, but lost to Federer. Uruguayan Cuevas was knocked out in round one.

The history of the women's competition is a little shorter as it wasn't played between 1974 and 2010.

Julie Heldman was the tournament's first champion, in 1971, as she beat Barbara Hawcroft. Both finalists made it through to the third round at Wimbledon.

As with the men's, the women's final of 1972 saw no play and so Billie Jean King and Evonne Goolagong shared the prizes. Billie Jean King won both the women's single and women's doubles at Wimbledon. Goolagong lost to King in the final of the singles.

Billie Jean King was back a year later though, defeating Virginia Wade in the final. King went one better than the year before, winning singles, doubles and mixed doubles. Wade made it through to the quarter finals.

Upon the return of the competition in 2011, Elena Baltacha was triumphant beating Petra Cetkovska and becoming the first British woman to win Nottingham. Baltacha scored her joint best Wimbledon performance, making the second round. Cetkovska made the fourth round, knocking out two-seeded players.

Ashleigh Barty won in 2012 defeating Tatjana Malek. Barty was knocked out in the first round but Malek didn't get through the qualifying rounds.

In 2013, Elena Baltacha won again beating Tadeja Majeric this time. Baltacha was knocked out in the first round but Majeric was defeated in the qualifiers.

In 2014, Jarmila Gajdosova was champion with Timea Bacsinszky the runner-up. The champion reached the second round at Wimbledon, as did Bacsinszky, who was knocked out by Maria Sharapova.

2015 saw the tournament return back to the top level of the women's game as it became part of the WTA again. Ana Konjuh won beating Monica Niculescu. Konjuh departed in the first round while Niculescu made it as far as the fourth.

Last year's champion was Karolina Pliskova who beat Alison Riske in the final. Pliskova got to the second round but Riske went home a round earlier.

As you can see, success in NG7 can lead to success in SW19.

This year, British no.1 Johanna Konta leads an exciting list that also includes last year's runner-up and world number 40 Alison Riske.

The 2017 Aegon Open Nottingham takes place from Saturday 10 - Sunday 18 June 2017

2017 Aegon Open Nottingham website

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