Sonay Kartal to make Wimbledon main draw debut after enjoying impressive run of form since tournament victory at The Shrewsbury Club


Sonay Kartal, preparing to make her first Grand Slam appearance at Wimbledon next week, believes winning a tournament at The Shrewsbury Club last year served as a turning point in her career.  

Rising star Kartal impressed Shropshire tennis fans when she was crowned UK Pro League women’s champion in November.  

Having since climbed from just inside the world’s top 1,000 to her current ranking of 228, the consistent form of the 20-year-old has been recognised with a Wimbledon main draw wild card.

Kartal, who was also called up to Great Britain’s Billie Jean King Cup team in April, will face Danka Kovinic in the first round of the ladies’ singles.

There’s the exciting prospect for Kartal of a potential second round meeting against top seed Iga Swiatek if both players progress from round one. 

Kartal said: “Winning in Shrewsbury was a great turning point for me. I had some great wins that week and left that tournament feeling very confident in my game. 

"I took advantage of the growing confidence I was building and went to compete on the ITF tour, picking up some back-to-back titles along the way.”

Relishing the opportunity to play on Wimbledon’s famous grass courts, she added: "Playing at Wimbledon has always been a dream of mine. I competed twice in the juniors, so being able to come back and do it all again in the seniors is going to be such a special moment in my career.”

Kartal’s immediate focus is very much on Wimbledon, but she is well aware The Shrewsbury Club has been selected by the LTA to host a prestigious $100,000 women’s tennis tournament later this year. 

The new International Tennis Federation World Tennis Tour event - expected to feature leading British and international stars - will be held at the Sundorne Road venue’s indoor courts in October.

Kartal, from Brighton, said: "I haven’t looked that far into the calendar regarding which tournaments I’m going to play, however I’m very aware of the W100 in Shrewsbury and I’m hoping to be back there soon.”

Dave Courteen, The Shrewsbury Club’s managing director, is not surprised by Kartal’s success after being so impressed with the level of performances she produced during her week in Shropshire.

He’s delighted to see Kartal and many other players who have played in tournaments at The Shrewsbury Club featuring in Wimbledon’s main draw as he continues to plan for the W100 event later this year.

He said: "We could see the potential in Sonay Kartal when she played here and it’s wonderful she’s followed up doing so well in Shrewsbury by having so much success on the ITF circuit.

“It’s great that Sonay’s going to play in the main draw at Wimbledon, which is one of her dreams. 

"The Wimbledon draw just emphasises how exciting it is to be bringing an event like the W100 tournament to Shrewsbury later this year. 

“Many players that have played here will be taking part in this year's Championships, including Alastair Gray, who won the men’s $25,000 event we held in February and has received a wild card for the main draw of the men’s singles.

"The tournaments we have held in the past have attracted players striving to get into the main draw of Grand Slams.

“As we look forward to staging a higher level women’s event in October, we expect many of the players heading to Shrewsbury will be used to playing at Grand Slams, so it’s very exciting.”

Kartal is joined in the main draw of the ladies’ singles in SW19 by a number of other British players to have played in tournaments at The Shrewsbury Club, with Heather Watson, Harriet Dart, Jodie Burrage, Lily Miyazaki and Katie Swan also playing.

There’s also a number of British players to have graced the courts at The Shrewsbury Club in the men’s singles main draw, with Dan Evans, Jack Draper and Gray - all former title winners in Shrewsbury - along with Jay Clarke, Paul Jubb and Liam Broady looking forward to first round matches. 

A host of other Brits to have played in Shrewsbury will be taking part in the doubles at Wimbledon, while a number of international stars who have also played in the town are competing in both the singles and doubles.

Pictured: Sonay Kartal has significantly climbed the world rankings since her UK Pro League victory at The Shrewsbury Club in November. Picture: Richard Dawson Photography.