Sports Listings: Plan Ahead: Tennis - Volkswagen Nationals

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The Independent Online
THE Volkswagen Nationals is the most important domestic tennis tournament for British players. It is also the largest, catering not only to the best in Britain, but also to players of all standards and ages. The Championships will be held next month, from 2 to 7 November, at Telford.

In the First Division, the senior players category, Jeremy Bates, with four singles titles, and Andrew Castle, with three, have dominated the men's event since the Nationals started in 1983. The Solihull-born Bates defends the title he took from Castle last year at Telford, but Chris Wilkinson, the new British No 1 and the Wimbledon lights, Andrew Foster and Chris Bailey, have the talent, along with the top junior player, Jamie Delgado, to cause an upset.

Jo Durie has won the women's singles title on seven occasions and this year Clare Wood, the British No 1 from Brighton, will be the 33-year-old Bristol player's main worry. Youth will also play a part with Shirli-Ann Siddall, who had a winning role in Britain's win over the United States in the Maureen Connolly Trophy last week, and Mandy Wainwright, whose first- round win at Wimbledon vastly improved her world ranking.

Divisions two to seven are graded according to Lawn Tennis Association ratings, with the seventh division a beginner's group. More than 4,000 players entered the summer qualifying and 48 - four males and four females in each division - have won through to Telford.

Volkswagen Nationals, qualifying 30 October to 1 November, main draw 2-7 November.

Telford International Centre, St Quentin's Gate, Telford, Shropshire TF3 4JH.

Rover tickets: Tuesday to Friday (play starts at 10.30am) pounds 4; Saturday (Women's singles final) pounds 7; Sunday (men's singles final) pounds 8. Children under-16 and OAPs are half-price. Box Office: 0952- 291919.

Heart of England Tourist Board, Woodside, Larkhill Road, Worcester WR5 2EF. (Tel: 0905-763436).