Marcus Willis joins Liverpool Hope University International Tennis TournamentThursday 27 April 2017
Marcus Willis, who became the story of last year's Wimbledon when he beat Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis to earn a Centre Court showdown with Roger Federer, will take to the court at this year’s Liverpool Hope International Tennis Tournament.
Willis was a world number 772 who had earned just £220 in prize money before his match with Federer.
Liverpool Hope International Tournament director Anders Borg said: "Marcus is a fantastic person and a great player in particular on grass and we very much look forward to have him in Liverpool. I am sure we will organise a trip to Anfield for him during his stay in the city."
Marcus was also the toast of Merseyside last summer when he refused a £15,000 windfall from The Sun newspaper because he is a Liverpool FC fan.
Marcus said: "This is my first year competing in Liverpool but after my dream run at Wimbledon last year I believe Liverpool is the perfect place to kick off my 2017 grass court season. I have heard nothing but great things about the organisation and the way Anders runs things and I am very excited as a Liverpool fan to make my professional debut in Liverpool in front of world class sporting fans."
Paralympian Jamie Burdekin and rising tennis star Macy Clarke played mini-tennis with Tournament Director Anders Borg at the launch of the Tournament at the Hilton Hotel.
Also playing in this year's International will be last year's winner, Damir Dzumhur, who has had a great year on the circuit having beaten players like Stan Wawrinka and Rafael Nadal. Former Liverpool Champion Ana Bogdan leads the women's field in addition to up and coming Natalya Vikhlyantseva who is only 19 and already ranked 75 in the world.
The legends field is led by former world number 8 Guillermo Cañas of Argentina and former Liverpool finalist Robert Kendrick of USA.
The Liverpool Hope International tennis Tournament is in its 16th year and has grown into the longest running and largest tennis exhibition in Europe - featuring ATP and WTA players warming up for Wimbledon in addition to the ever popular legends of tennis.
Liverpool Hope University has been the headline sponsor for four years and Professor Mehmet Dorak, Head of the School of Health Sciences at Liverpool Hope University said: “We are excited to be title sponsors of the Liverpool International Tennis Tournament in what is a seminal year for Sports and Health Sciences at Liverpool Hope University.
"We have completed our new £14.47 million Sports and Health Science building, which brings both disciplines under one roof and offers our students and researchers easy access to top facilities.
“We are also home to an NHS-approved clinical trial into ‘Exercise, Nutrition and Ageing’, and the UK’s largest ‘Tennis, Ageing, and Health’ study. Our tennis study has been shortlisted for an award by the European College of Sport Science, the largest Sport and Exercise Science Congress in Europe.
“This summer we will be announcing some initial findings from the tennis study, which we hope will begin to quantify the long-term benefits of playing the sport.
"It is an exciting time for Sports and Health Sciences at Liverpool Hope.”
The Liverpool Hope International Tennis Tournament takes place at Liverpool Cricket Club from 15th to 18th June.