Sports Listings: Plan Ahead

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The Independent Online
BECAUSE the atmosphere and the tennis are special, demand for Wimbledon seats has for many years exceeded supply. If you have failed to obtain a ticket in the ballot and are not a member of the All England Club, a debenture holder or affiliated to the Lawn Tennis Association, there is, however, plenty of opportunity to watch the leading players prior to The Championships.

In the build-up to Wimbledon, five tournaments provide the base and competition for the top players to hone their grass game. Stefan Edberg, Pete Sampras and Michael Stich are among the entry at the Stella Artois. Mary Joe Fernandez, Anka Huber and Jana Novotna will be in Brighton for the Volkswagen Cup, while Martina Navratilova plays in the Birmingham tournament, and entry lists have not yet closed.

The pre-qualifying tournament for The Championships will be held at the Civil Service Sports Ground, Dukes Meadow, Chiswick, London W14 from 7 to 9 June. The main qualifying competition runs from 14 to 18 June at the Bank of England Sports Club, Priory Lane, Roehampton, London SW15. Both events create their own special atmosphere and are free to the public. The Championships are from 21 June to 4 July.

Direct Line Insurance tennis at Beckenham, men and women, 31 May-6 June (qualifying 29 and 30 May).

Beckenham Cricket Club, Fox Grove Road, Beckenham, Kent (Tel: 081-658 3415). Tickets on sale from this month, details from club.

Stella Artois Grass Court Championships, men, 7-13 June (qualifying 5 and 6 June).

Queen's Club, Palliser Road, West Kensington, London W14 (Tel: 071-385 3421).

Admission: Monday to Wednesday pounds 12, pounds 15, pounds 18; Thursday pounds 21; Friday pounds 28; Saturday and Sunday pounds 33. Tickets are on sale from 8 April (071-497 0521).

Birmingham Classic, women, 7-13 June (qualifying 5 and 6 June).

Priory Club, Sir Harry's Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham (021-440 2492).

Admission: Monday and Tuesday pounds 4; Wednesday pounds 6; Thursday pounds 7; Friday pounds 9; Saturday pounds 12; Sunday pounds 14. Season ticket pounds 40. Tickets also available from Birmingham Convention and Visitors' Bureau, 2 City Arcade, Birmingham B2 4TX (Tel: 021-643 2514).

Direct Line Insurance Manchester Open, men, 14-19 June (qualifying 12 and 13 June).

Northern Lawn Tennis Club, Palatine Road, West Didsbury, Manchester (Tel: 061-445 2616).

Admission: Saturday and Sunday qualifying free; Monday pounds 6; Tuesday pounds 7; Wednesday pounds 8; Thursday (Centre Court reserved seats) pounds 10; Friday pounds 12; Saturday pounds 15. Season ticket pounds 45.

Volkswagen Cup, women, 14-19 June (qualifying 12 and 13 June).

Devonshire Park, College Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex (Tel: 0323-412000).

Admission: Monday pounds 7.50- pounds 10.50; Tuesday pounds 8.50- pounds 11.50; Wednesday pounds 10- pounds 12.50; Thursday: pounds 12- pounds 14.50; Friday: pounds 14- pounds 16; Saturday pounds 16- pounds 18. Season ticket pounds 65- pounds 77.