BT Sport has struck a deal with the Lawn Tennis Association to cover this summer’s ‘Rally for Bally’ pre-Wimbledon tennis tournaments.
The deal will see the broadcaster getting exclusive live coverage of the Aegon Classic WTA event at Edgbaston, with former world number one players Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic, and last year’s Wimbledon runner-up Sabine Lisicki.
BT SPort will also share live coverage of the Aegon Championships ATP event at The Queen’s Club, London with the BBC, featuring Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt, Tomas Berdych, and Grigor Dimitrov.
Simon Green, head of BT Sport, said: “We’re set for a glorious summer of grass court tennis on BT Sport. We will be bringing viewers the world’s best players at some of the world’s best grass court tournaments as they prepare for Wimbledon.
“We’re honoured to be able to bring the Rally for Bally to a wider audience, helping British Tennis to celebrate the life and memory of Elena Baltacha, as well as raising funds for extremely worthy causes.”
Michael Downey, LTA chief executive, said: “Our world class major events inspire tennis fans around the world and I’m delighted that BT Sport will be helping us to take these tournaments to an even bigger audience, as well as promoting the Great British Tennis Weekends.”
The following week sees BT Sport sharing live coverage with the BBC of the ATP and WTA tournaments at the Aegon International at Devonshire Park in Eastbourne.
The top seed will be world No.3, Agnieszka Radwanska, with strong competition from the 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, former World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki, and rising American Sloane Stephens.
On Sunday June 15, the channel will show an all-star line-up of exhibition mixed doubles matches at the Aegon Championships and the Aegon Classic as British Tennis stages the Rally for Bally in memory of former British number one Elena Baltacha, who recently died from liver cancer.
Andy Murray and Aegon Championships Tournament Director Ross Hutchins will play on opposing mixed doubles teams at The Queen’s Club, while 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova, Anne Keothavong, Tim Henman and Jamie Murray will all play in Birmingham.
Proceeds will be split equally between the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis.
BT Sport will also support the LTA’s four Great British Tennis Weekends, which will see thousands of park sites and clubs up and down the country offer completely free opportunities to play the game.
Image: Flickr/Justin Smith