Nottingham Open, the popular Wimbledon warm-up event, has had a chequered past but as a grass court tournament often attracts some of the big hitters from both the ATP and WTA Tours.
When the Manchester Open tournament was scrapped, the Nottingham Open was born in 1970 with just a men’s event. US superstar Stan Smith was crowned the inaugural champion, courtesy of a straight set success over compatriot Chauncey Steele.
Due to the combined popularity from fans, sponsors and television rights, the event became a mini-Wimbledon the following year with American Julie Heldman and Chilean Jaime Fillol Sr victorious in thrilling finals.
The legendary US ace Billie Jean King reached the 1972 and 1973 finals, but shared the title with Australian Evonne Goolagong because of a rain-affected final before returning the following year to narrowly see off British no.1 Virginia Wade.
Despite the interest the ladies’ event was axed while in contrast the men’s tournament was upgraded to the highly prestigious Grand Prix Super Series.
Smith enjoyed being the centre of attention, returning with aplomb to wow the Centre Court crowds and capture the 1974 trophy. The following year Holland’s Tom Okker saw off Australian Tony Roche in a three-set thriller.
There were no such thrills in the next two finals with the top prize shared. US icon Jimmy Connors and temperamental Romanian Ilie Năstase started the third set before rain put paid to declaring a 1976 champion. And Fillol was back in action in a final in 1977, only for his showdown with American doubles specialist Tim Gullikson to be abandoned because of rain.
Surprisingly the Nottingham Open was discontinued, with the ATP Tour returning after a 17-year hiatus in 1995, with the WTA Tour back in business in 2015.
Such big names from the ATP Tour, all familiar faces at The Championships, lifted the trophy at Nottingham including Jonas Björkman (Sweden), Richard Gasquet (France), Ivo Karlović (Croatia) and Greg Rusedski (Great Britain).
Yet the Nottingham Open was cancelled for the 2009 season and did not return until 2015, alongside the WTA Tour’s reappearance in the city, when Denis Istomin (Uzbekistan) and Ana Konjuh (Croatia) became the latest champions respectively.
American Steve Johnson and Czech Republic’s Karolína Plíšková won the 2016 crowns ahead of Wimbledon, but because of the lack of leading players in the men’s event the tournament was downgraded to a ATP Challenger competition in 2017. It has remained at this level with David Sela (2017, Israel), Alex de Minaur (2018, Australia) and Dan Evans (2019, Great Britain) crowned champions respectively.
The WTA Tour had much more profile winners in the shape of Donna Vekić (2017, Croatia), Ashleigh Barty (2018, Australia) and Caroline Garcia (2019, France).
With the 2020 editions cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the return to Nottingham for 2021 offers a mouthwatering main draw of 48 in both the men’s and ladies editions.
|WTA TOUR YEAR||WINNER||RUNNER-UP||RESULT|
|2020||Cancelled due to COVID|
|2019||Caroline Garcia||Donna Vekić||2–6 7–6(4) 7–6(4)|
|2018||Ashleigh Barty||Johanna Konta||6–3 3–6 6–4|
|2017||Donna Vekić||Johanna Konta||2–6 7–6(3) 7–5|
|2016||Karolína Plíšková||Alison Riske||7–6(8) 7–5|
|2015||Ana Konjuh||Monica Niculescu||1–6 6–4 6–2|
|1973||Billie Jean King||Virginia Wade||8–6 6–4|
|1972||Billie Jean King||Evonne Goolagong||No winner | Abandoned|
|1971||Julie Heldman||Barbara Hawcroft||6–4 7–9 6–3|
|ATP TOUR YEAR||WINNER||RUNNER-UP||RESULT|
|2020||Cancelled due to COVID|
|2019||Dan Evans||Evgeny Donskoy||7–6(3) 6-3|
|2018||Alex de Minaur||Dan Evans||7–6(4) 7-5|
|2017||David Sela||Thomas Fabbiano||4–6 6–4 6–3|
|2016||Steve Johnson||Pablo Cuevas||7–6(5) 7-5|
|2015||Denis Istomin||Sam Querrey||7–6(1) 7-6(6)|
|2008||Ivo Karlović||Fernando Verdasco||7–5 6–7(4) 7–6(6)|
|2007||Ivo Karlović||Arnaud Clément||3–6 6–4 6–4|
|2006||Richard Gasquet||Jonas Björkman||6–4 6–3|
|2005||Richard Gasquet||Max Mirnyi||6–2 6–3|
|2004||Paradorn Srichaphan||Thomas Johansson||1–6 7–6(4) 6–3|
|2003||Greg Rusedski||Mardy Fish||6–3 6–2|
|2002||Jonas Björkman||Wayne Arthurs||6–2 6–7(5) 6–2|
|2001||Thomas Johansson||Harel Levy||7–5 6–3|
|2000||Sébastien Grosjean||Byron Black||7–6(7) 6–3|
|1999||Cédric Pioline||Kevin Ullyett||6–3 7–5|
|1998||Jonas Björkman||Byron Black||6–3 6–2|
|1997||Greg Rusedski||Karol Kučera||6–4 7–5|
|1996||Jan Siemerink||Sandon Stolle||6–3 7–6(0)|
|1995||Javier Frana||Todd Woodbridge||7–6(4) 6–3|
|1977||Jaime Fillol||Tim Gullikson||No winner | Abandoned|
|1976||Jimmy Connors||Ilie Năstase||No winner | Abandoned|
|1975||Tom Okker||Tony Roche||6–1 3–6 6–3|
|1974||Stan Smith||Alex Metreveli||6–3 1–6 6–3|
|1973||Eric van Dillen||Frew McMillan||3–6 6–1 6–1|
|1972||Geoffrey Masters||Premjit Lall||No winner | Abandoned|
|1971||Jaime Fillol||Greg Perkins||6–2 6–3|
|1970||Stan Smith||Chauncey Steele||6–3 6–1|