Great Britain Davis Cup captain Leon Smith impressed by Shrewsbury tennis tournament

Leon Smith, Great Britain’s Davis Cup captain, has given his seal of approval to the latest professional tennis tournament successfully staged by The Shrewsbury Club.

Leon, who memorably led GB to Davis Cup victory in 2015, spent three days in Shrewsbury last week attending the Budgen Motors ITF World Tennis Tour M25 tournament.

It gave him the opportunity, in his role as head of men’s tennis at the Lawn Tennis Association, to keep a close eye on a number of rising British stars competing in Shropshire.

Leon enjoyed his time in the county and praised The Shrewsbury Club for impressively staging an event which was eventually won by British player Alastair Gray.  

Leon said: “The way they stage tournaments is excellent. If you talk around the player base and the coaching fraternity, they’ll use the phrase 'It’s a proper event.’

“We get to obviously visit these level events - this is a $25,000 event on the ITF World Tennis Tour - but this isn’t far off how an overseas Challenger event would be.

“It’s very well structured, from the facilities of course, and that includes not just the courts, but also the viewing with the club putting stands up for spectators, so it feels like an event as it creates an atmosphere.

"They had a lot of school children come in one day, which was terrific to see. They got to play tennis and then stayed to watch the matches.

“That creates an atmosphere for the players. To have people at the club watching the tennis is absolutely fantastic.

“The transport the club provide between the venue and hotel for players is another tick.

“The food is also good at the club, so all in all the organisation from everyone is absolutely superb - and the players feel it and they talk about it.

“If you can get a phrase that says 'a proper tournament' then you know they’re doing something right. 

“I had heard people talk about The Shrewsbury Club, but until you actually see it yourself, you see that it’s a nice club with good facilities and that the infrastructure around the event is excellent.

“It’s really important to see it first hand because then you realise the effort that people are putting in.” 

Dave Courteen, The Shrewsbury Club’s managing director, said he was delighted with the success of the latest tournament and pleased to welcome Leon to the club.

He said: “It was a real honour to welcome Leon to Shrewsbury and it’s testament to the quality of the event we put on that someone of his calibre devoted time in his hectic schedule to visit for a few days.

"Leon heads up performance tennis for men across the UK and he’s synonymous with the success of the Davis Cup team and many of the leading British players including Andy Murray.” 

Pictured: Great Britain’s Davis Cup captain Leon Smith at The Shrewsbury Club. Picture: Richard Dawson Photography.