All seven of this year’s qualifying weeks are now complete, and we’re less than two months out from the 2023 Finals Week- let’s take a look back at some of the best moments of the season so far.
New faces make waves and proven Champions showcase their prowess
UK Pro League 2023 has welcomed many new players, and it’s always exciting to watch a new player turn up and win the competition in their debut week. Four players achieved this feat in 2023: Hamish Stewart (Week 2), Louis Bowden (Week 4), Patrick Brady (Week 7) and Isabelle Lacy (Week 7). But of course, it isn’t all about the newest members of the UKPL squad. Anton Matusevich (2021 UKPL Champion) reminded everyone what he is capable of by winning the first week of the year. Elena Malygina (2022 UKPL Champion) picked up 2nd place in the same week, before winning week 2. Dan Cox, the 2022 UKPL runner-up also achieved a 2nd place in week 3.
UKPL 2022 Champion Elena Malygina continued her impressive run into 2023, picking up 2nd place in Week 1 and 1st place in Week 2
Hard work pays off
Four of the thirteen week winners this year were competing in their first UKPL Season, but for others, taking home the winner’s trophy was perhaps even sweeter because of the journey to get there. Week 1 saw Katie Stresnakova finally win a week after previously reaching an impressive 4 finals. She only narrowly missed out on another win in week 5, when she lost in the final to Katy Dunne. Dunne was also pleased to have won a UKPL week at last; her previous best was a 2nd place in 2022.
Katy Dunne (left) and Katie Stresnakova (right) both picked up thier first UKPL Week Wins this year
Fans of the competition would have been pleased to see Danielle Daley win her first week in February of this year, as she’s been a regular player at UKPL since 2020. It was a moment made made especially memorable by being in front of a home crowd at Gosling Tennis Centre. A similar tale unfolded the following UKPL Week in Southampton; Emma Wilson, who was runner-up to Daley the previous week, got a similarly satisfying win, on her third occasion reaching a UKPL Final.
The future is in good hands
There were numerous impressive performances from players 18 and under this year. 18-year-old Kate Mansfield reached two finals this year, on both indoor hard courts in Week 4 and during our first ever grass event in Felixstowe. Consistently improving with every event, it likely won’t be long before she claims her first win. She qualifies for her first Finals Week second in the league ranking table, and as the youngest woman. Kate was runner up at Felixstowe to Isabelle Lacy, the 16-year-old who burst onto the UK Pro League scene at the start of an impressive grass season for the current 18U Junior National Champion. Felixstowe was Lacy’s first UK Pro League, but she didn’t come to mess around. Not losing a match all week, and winning the finals without being broken once, Lacy proved she was not to be overlooked because of her age . The 5 matches on the Felixstowe grass courts seemingly warmed Lacy up nicely for the rest of her grass season. A week later, Lacy had progressed through qualifying into the Surbiton Trophy main draw where she won her first round match against world no. 95 Maddison Brengle. If that wasn’t exciting enough, later that month she competed at Wimbledon, where her and her doubles partner Hannah Klugman came runners-up in the Junior Wimbledon Girl’s doubles.
Isabelle Lacy won the UKPL’s first ever grass event in June
We can’t mention Wimbledon without talking about Henry Searle’s sensational win of the Boy’s singles event. Henry impressed everyone with his performance in Week 1 of the 2023 UK Pro League, where he came 3rd, and in July he became the first British Boy’s singles champion for 61 years. What an achievement for the 17 year old.
And, of course, sitting at the top of the Men’s League ranking table is 18-year-old Louis Bowden. Bowden won Week 4 on his debut before picking up a 4th place the following week and another win in week 6. He used his wildcard prize from winning UKPL Week 4 to compete in the main draw of a Nottingham 25k in April, where a win in the first round handed him his first ATP points. He now sits at 1600 in the ATP rankings and has headed to Baylor University in the US , so keep on eye out for what he achieves in the US college tennis circuit.
Other youngsters showing prowess at the UK Pro League this year include 18-year-old Patrick Brady, who also secured the Week win on his debut at our grass event in Felixstowe, and 18-year old Jaquelyn Ogunwale who collected 3rd,4th and 5th places this year.
It’s been a fantastic season so far and you can watch every match over at UKPL.TV . We’ll keep bringing you all the news in the run up to Finals week, which kicks off October 2nd…who do you think will be crowned 2024 Champion?