Edgbaston Priory Club – Babolat partner and host venue to The Babolat Cup UK 2014
The Club’s Heritage
The origins of Edgbaston Priory Club date back around 130 years to the very birth of lawn tennis when Major Harry Gem and Augurio Perera first played the game in Ampton Road, Edgbaston.
The Club as we know it today was formed in December 1964 as a result of a merger between two very long established clubs; Edgbaston Cricket and Lawn Tennis Club founded in 1878, and Priory Lawn Tennis Club founded in 1875. This merger came about in May 1963 when a disastrous fire completely destroyed Priory’s clubhouse – hence the Club’s logo is a phoenix rising from the ashes.
Many legends of tennis have graced the Club’s courts over the years. The first Wimbledon ladies singles winner, Maud Watson, was a member of Edgbaston Cricket and Lawn Tennis Club. She brought the Wimbledon trophy back to Birmingham with her name engraved on it in 1885. It is this trophy which successive winners of the Aegon Classic have held aloft ever since 1982.
King’s Heath born, Ann Jones, a life member of the Club enjoyed a glittering tennis career, winning Wimbledon in 1969, two French Open singles titles, and reaching six other Grand Slam singles finals. Ann went on to play an active role in the Club, mentoring young players and refereeing tournaments. It was she, with the support of the LTA, who brought the Edgbaston Cup, now known as the Aegon Classic, to the Club in 1982.
In honour of her contribution to the Club and to the game of tennis our new centre court which opened on 9th June 2013, was named after her, ensuring her name is forever associated with Edgbaston Priory Club.
Many more early Wimbledon winners perfected their strokes on the courts of the two clubs, among them Miss Joan Fry (Wimbledon ladies singles finalist in 1925) and Dorothy Round (1934 and 1937). In the 20th century Fred Perry, Dan Maskell (for many years the BBC’s voice of Wimbledon), Bjorn Borg, Arthur Ashe, Jimmy Connors, Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova played at the Club and more recently Maria Sharapova, Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski.
The Club Today
Edgbaston Priory Club is a very different place today than it was in the 1880s. A multi-million pound redevelopment of the Club completed in 2013 offers members an outstanding environment in which to play racquet sport, keep fit, swim, relax and socialise.
Set in 14 acres of beautiful grounds just five minutes from Birmingham’s vibrant city centre, the Club now boasts 32 tennis courts offering a variety of playing surfaces, including a new six-court indoor tennis centre and the Ann Jones Centre Court which hosts international tournaments such as the Aegon Classic.
There are also 10 squash courts, heated indoor and outdoor swimming pools open all year round, an outside spa, and a fitness suite, including a gym and exercise studio, that enjoys panoramic views over the grounds.
The new clubhouse opened in 2013 offers members luxurious new changing rooms together with a sports bar, outdoor patio area, bistro, family lounge area and private function suite for private and club functions, catering for up to 120 people.
It is these world-class facilities combined with a prestigious history that attracts so many new members and exponents of tennis and squash to the Club.
“The Edgbaston Priory Club are delighted to be hosting the first ever Babolat Cup tournament to be held in the United Kingdom, and look forward to welcoming the competitors to the club.” Leyla Ogan – Edgbaston Priory Club Racquets Manager