ASHLAND, KY — The inaugural Braidy Industries $60,000 USTA Pro Circuit Women’s Tennis Classic will bring 56 professional players from around the globe to the Ashland Tennis Center next month, tournament organizers said Tuesday.

The tournament, co-sponsored by Bon Secours/Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, comes with $60,000 in prize money, opportunities for players to ascend in the pro rankings and the possibility of playing in the U.S. Open tennis tournament.

The tournament will run from July 22 through 29 at the center.

The Pro Circuit is the pathway to the U.S. Open and tour-level competition for aspiring players and also attracts established professionals, according to tournament chairman Jack Ditty. M.D.

The tournament will be one of three to decide the winner of the U.S. Open Main Draw Wild Card for 2018.

The winner must be an American woman player who advances through the most rounds and earns the most points in the tournaments in Stockton, California; Ashland and Lexington.

The tournament will be webcast via radiotennis.com by Ken Thomas, and with players from across the United States and around the globe will be assured an international audience of tens of millions, according to Ditty.

Sponsoring the tournament is part of Braidy’s commitment to the community, according to company CEO Craig Bouchard. “It’s about a general feeling of community … the town has got to do things together,” he said. “We are proud to sponsor this event that brings professional tennis players to Ashland. Soon tennis players and fans all over the world will turn their eyes to our community and experience the hospitality and professionalism that is commonplace in this area,” he said.

“It’s good to see the excitement back in Ashland. It’s exciting to see what’s going on in the region and I think it’s going to continue to build,” said OLBH CEO Kevin Halter. The hospital was the title sponsor for the tournament from 2004 through 2008.

The USTA hosts about 90 tournaments throughout the country, with more than 1,000 players from more than 70 countries playing on the Pro Circuit yearly.

THIS STORY WAS PUBLISHED AT DAILYINDEPENDENT.COM