Tennis: Plan Ahead

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The Independent Online
Steffi Graf returns to Brighton later this month to defend her title in the Midland Bank Championships, providing an opportunity to watch the Wimbledon champion play tennis in the comfortable environment of an indoor arena.

The championships are being held for the 15th year at the Brighton Centre, which is situated on the seafront, next to the Grand Hotel, and the arena allows closer viewing of the players than the back row of the Centre Court at Wimbledon can offer. This year the tournament has the strongest field for some time and certainly the top women's line-up outside Wimbledon.

New entries are Mary Joe Fernandez, from the United States, the German Anke Huber and Conchita Martinez, of Spain, all top-ranked players. Other competitors include Patricia Hy, of Canada, who beat Jennifer Capriati in the US Open, the Bulgarian Magdalena Maleeva, who halted Martina Navratilova's progress in New York, and Britain's Jo Durie, who has played in every championship at Brighton. Monique Javer is likely to receive one of the two wild cards.

Thirty-two players attempt to qualify over three rounds on Sunday and Monday for four places in the main draw. With two courts in use, spectators will be able to move from match to match. Play reverts to a single court from the second round on Thursday.

Midland Bank Championships, Brighton Centre, 20-25 October.

The Centre is in Kings Road on the seafront, a 10-minute walk from the railway station.

Admission: Qualifying: Sunday 18 October and Monday 19 October pounds 1 (play starts at 10am). Main draw: Tuesday pounds 6 (10am). Wednesday pounds 8.50 (noon). Thursday pounds 8.50 per session (noon and 7pm). Friday 1pm session pounds 9; 7pm pounds 10. Saturday: 2pm pounds 13, pounds 14, pounds 15. Sunday: 1.30pm pounds 13, pounds 14, pounds 15. Weekly season (all sessions) pounds 75; Rover season (18-20 October) pounds 6.50. Details on application for courtside family boxes (seats four to six) and corporate hospitality boxes (12 seats). Box Office: 0273-202881.

Details of forthcoming events with information on ticket availability and venues should be sent to The Sports Desk, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB or faxed to 071-956 1894.