THE 15th edition of The Liverpool Hope International Tennis Tournament officially launched their players field today (18 April) at the Liverpool Hilton Hotel. The Tournament has an extremely international and impressive field headed by ATP stars such Damir Dzumur (Bosnia), Rajeev Ram (USA) and the return of the very promising Audrey Roublev (Russia) in addition to Akira Santillian (Japan). Last year’s finalist Damir Dzumhur has recently achieved wins against top 10 players such as Rafael Nadal and Thomas Berdych and will look to go one further this year. Damir states, “I had a great time in Liverpool last year and can’t wait to come back and play for the International trophy, it’s a perfect way to warm up for Wimbledon.” The Women’s field is headed by Wang Qiang who will be the first ever Chinese participant at the Liverpool Tournament. She is coached by Peter McNamara who has been to Liverpool on several occasions. During the tournament, Miss Wang will be facing top competition from the Russian starlet Sofya Zhuk who won Junior Wimbledon last year and the Australian Open Junior Champion along with world number 1 on the ITF ranking, Vera Lapko from Belarus. Tournament director Anders Borg says, “I am convinced we have a future world number one in our players field this year, we have great history in featuring young promising players such as Novak Djokovic and Caroline Wozniacki and our players field this year features some very talented up and coming players “ The legends event is headed by the ever popular and extremely talented Mansour Bahrami of Iran who will be joined by Peter McNamara of Australia, former Liverpool International champion Xavier Malisse, Belgium and JM Gambill of USA in addition to Britain’s Jeremy Bates and Liverpool’s own Barry Cowan. Dr Omid Alizadehkhaiyat, Associate Professor of Sport and Exercise Science in the School of Health Sciences of Title Sponsors Liverpool Hope University said: “Liverpool Hope University is looking forward to another year as title sponsor of the tennis tournament. We are committed to researching how sport and exercise can improve health and wellbeing at all ages. We have invested in a brand new £8.5 million Health Science building, work has begun on a £5.5 million sports complex, and we are leading two new health science research projects, one that explores the multidimensional health benefits of tennis, and one that looks at the benefits of exercising as we age. We are excited to be part of an event which encourages people of all ages to invest in their long term health and wellbeing and try tennis, even if they have never picked up a racket before.” Former Liverpool and England Captain Mark Wright and Downtown Liverpool in Business Frank Mckenna have been announced as this year’s tennis ambassadors. Frank McKenna said: “I am delighted to have been approached to be an ambassador for the fabulous event that is the Liverpool International Tennis Tournament. I have watched the event go from strength to strength over the past decade and more – and it has now become an iconic occasion in the city’s sporting calendar. Not only does Anders attract great tennis stars to Liverpool; he and his team put on a genuine show that offers a fantastic opportunity to corporate clients who want to show off the city at its best. I am very much looking forward to another great four days of tennis later this year.” Mark Wright who recently returned from China, where his company Premier Legends has set up soccer schools said: “As a huge tennis fan myself I look forward every year to the Liverpool tennis tournament – and I was delighted to be asked to be an ambassador. For me the tennis tournament is much more than corporate hospitality it’s an opportunity for the city of Liverpool to showcase itself as a platform for sport other than football. It’s also an opportunity for guests to come and see at close hand some of the most iconic players of the past and stars of the future. I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone down at the tennis tournament.” The International Tournament has also announced the two new charities they will work with this summer in the Royal Liverpool Hospital’s R Charity and Ronald McDonald House. Lauren Davies, corporate lead for R Charity said: “We’re trying to raise £10million to provide equipment that will not only improve the level of care, but also the level of comfort we provide our patients in the new Royal, so to have such a prestigious tennis tournament help us out means a lot. I’d like to thank Liverpool Hope International Tennis Tournament and Northern Vision for selecting R Charity as their charity sponsor for 2016.” “We can’t wait to be a part of such a fantastic event for the city – our mascot Roy is already eyeing up a game or two against some tennis legends!” Ronald McDonald House, Alder Hey Liverpool, is a special caring home where families of seriously ill children receiving treatment at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital can stay, without charge, for the duration of their child’s stay at the hospital.