The FBD Men’s Irish Open, Ireland’s only professional tennis event, commences this Sunday, July 19th and will run until Saturday July 25th. The tournament will take place at Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club, Appian Way, Dublin 6 and entry is free each day. Limerick’s Sam Barry, the tournament’s third seed and a semi-finalist last year, will be leading the Irish charge. Ireland’s Davis Cup pair of James Cluskey and David O’Hare will also be looking to record a first title together, on home soil. In addition, there will be a number of up and coming players looking to make their mark. These include County Down’s Peter Bothwell, who has already amassed world ranking points in Portugal, Spain, Greece, Tunisia and Zimbabwe, this year. The tournament will also see Simon Carr, who is rated as one of the most promising talents in many years, and is the son of former All-Ireland winner, Tommy, make his professional debut.
The tournament is a $15K Futures event on the ITF World Circuit and awards both prize money and world ranking points in both singles and doubles events. It is a competition steeped in history and is the second oldest tournament in World Tennis. It was first played in 1879, two years after Wimbledon began, and has a long association with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club. Previous winners include William Renshaw, Rod Laver, Tony Roche and Ireland’s own, James McGee, who captured his first professional title at the event, in 2011.
The Irish players participating this year will be hoping to follow James’ success. Speaking about the possible Irish challenge, National Tennis Director Garry Cahill said “The FBD Men’s Irish Open is the highlight of the Irish players’ tournament schedule and they have always done very well in this prestigious event. It is the only international tournament of the year where they get to compete in front of a home crowd. We have a strong group of contenders this year. Please come out and support the Irish players”.
In addition to the Irish challenge, the tournament will also welcome competitors from more than ten countries, including Great Britain, the United States of America, Spain, France and Australia. Perhaps most notable amongst these entries is British Davis Cup player Daniel Evans, a somewhat mercurial character. Evans has enjoyed a number of high profile successes in his career to date, most notably in beating current World Number 5, Kei Nishikori, to reach the third round of the US Open, in 2013.