ALMOST 200 players will take to the courts this week when the annual Bolton Tennis Tournament begins.

The competition takes place from Friday until a week on Saturday and includes 21 events incorporating 244 matches.

It is the 36th year of the tournament, which is sponsored by Dunlop, and will repeat last year's format with matches being split between Markland Hill, Lostock and Meadow Hill tennis clubs.

Spectators are welcome at all three venues and entry is free.

The under-14s boys' and girls' singles are scheduled to be completed by Sunday, with all other events taking place throughout the nine days.

All junior events will be played to a short-set format with the winner needing to win four games to take a set.

There will be a tie-break if the score reaches 3-3, and if the score is 1-1 in sets a tie-break third set will be played.

As last year, only Markland Hill will be used this Sunday as access to Lostock and Meadow Hill will be restricted by road closures in place due to the Ironman UK triathlon competition in Bolton.

The date also coincides with the Wimbledon men's singles final, which starts at 2pm, and the World Cup final which kicks off at 4pm.

Organisers hope Sunday’s matches will be completed before the World Cup, although this could depend on there being good weather on the first three days.

Viewing facilities are good at all three clubs with Markland Hill having temporary tiered seating.

Lostock’s balcony gives an impressive view of all five courts, and at Meadow Hill there are good views of both courts with spectators close to the action.

Spectators and the 191 players will be able to purchase meals, snacks, hot and cold drinks and additional drinks at the bar at Markland Hill; Lostock will have hot and cold drinks and snacks and bar service available; while Meadow Hill will provide cold snacks and hot and cold drinks.

The open events form part of the Lawn Tennis Association’s summer tour and matches count towards players’ ranking and rating.