If there’s one sport that captures the “get back on the horse” ethos, it’s tennis: After a loss, there’s always another tournament right around the corner.
Sometimes, that turnaround can bring with it the challenges of adapting to a completely different surface.
As the sport’s premier clay-court event, the French Open, draws to its conclusion, a number of players who lost in the first week or didn’t make it out of qualifying have already turned their attention to grass in hopes of achieving glory at the next Grand Slam tournament on the horizon, Wimbledon. The first stop in that quest is the Surbiton Trophy, in England.
The tournament was first held as a WTA International Tennis Federation event back in 1997. Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand captured that title over Aleksandra Olsza, reversing the result of the 1995 Girls’ Wimbledon final. The ATP hosted its inaugural event in Surbiton on the Challenger circuit a year later, with Gianluca Pozzi taking the title over future doubles standout Kevin Ullyett.
After a detour to Nottingham from 2009 to 2014, both tours returned to Surbiton in 2015.
Over the years, a number of notable players have made their presence felt on the grass of the suburban London neighborhood. On the men’s side, the roster of former champions includes former Wimbledon quarterfinalists Mardy Fish, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Yen-Hsun Lu. The women’s honor roll features former grass-court standouts like Tanasugarn and Brenda Schultz-McCarthy. Current members of the WTA Top 20 have also had stellar results in Surbiton: the defending champion is Magdalena Rybarikova, while Naomi Osaka reached the final in 2015.
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