PROFESSIONAL men’s and women’s tennis returns to USN Bolton Arena next week.

An ITF World Tennis Tour men’s and women’s $25,000 event takes place from Monday for seven days.

The tour is the first stage of the professional tennis ladder, with all the current world’s top 10 having played at that level.

Entry for spectators is free, giving local sports fans the chance to see high-quality tennis on their doorstep.

Organisers are hoping a lot of people will watch the event as more spectators will bring greater prestige for Bolton in the tennis world, which in turn could help secure more top events in the town.

When Bolton last hosted an event at this level in 2004 it was won by Marcos Bagdhatis, with a 17-year-old Andy Murray losing at an early stage.

Bagdhatis got into the world top 10 two years later and Murray went on to become twice Wimbledon champion and one of Britain's greatest ever players.

Next week's tournament director, Richard Joyner, expects some of the competitors on show to become well-known names on the pro circuit in the future.

There will be singles and doubles events, the singles starting with a qualifying competition on Monday with the winners progressing into the main draw of 32 players.

Matches in the main singles draws will start on Tuesday, as will the doubles event which will have 16 pairs.

Britain’s Liam Broady is the highest-ranked player in the men's singles, and he will be joined by seven more players who are in the World Tennis Association top 400.

The women’s singles will include former British number one Laura Robson and five world top 200 players headed by Russia’s Vitalia Diatchenko, who has already won in Grenoble and Shrewsbury this year.

The draws are made shortly before the start of the events, and the qualifying draws will be published online at around 6.30pm on Sunday with the draws for the main singles and doubles events made late in the afternoon on Monday and published online.

Play is scheduled to start at 10am each day and the order of play will be confirmed daily.

The doubles final and singles semi-finals will take place on Saturday, April 6, with the singles finals the following day.