MARCUS Willis, hero of the first week of Wimbledon last year, has been awarded one of the four men's wild-card entries into the $150,000 Aegon Ilkley Trophy, which starts tomorrow with qualifying.

Willis went to SW19 last summer ranked No 772 in the world, having won six qualifying rounds, but then beat world No 54 Ricardas Berankis in the first round before earning a dream Centre Court date with Roger Federer.

The popular left-hander's world ranking is now down to 386.

Meanwhile, the other three male players to avoid having to go through the rigours of qualifying are also Britons - world No 209 Brydan Klein, who was a semi-finalist at Ilkley last year, promising Derby youngster Jay Clarke (world No 384) and Lloyd Glasspool, the world No 487 who reaced the quarter-finals of this week's Aegon Nottingham Open Challenger as a qualifier.

Two of the wild cards for the $100,000 ITF Women's Futures tournament, which runs alongside the men's event, have also been announced.

Joining the 22 direct entries are Britons Harriet Dart (world ranked 299) who made the semi-finals at the Aegon Surbiton Trophy last week, and Freya Christie, world No 350 who played at Ilkley last year.

The six men's wild cards into qualifying were announced tonight, and also went to Britons - Keighley-born Jonny O'Mara, Neil Pauffley, Ryan Storrie, Finn Bass, Julian Cash and Barnaby Smith.

Men's qualifying will be held tomorrow and Sunday and women's qualifying Sunday and Monday, with the men's main draw starting on Monday and the women's main draw beginning on Tuesday.

Collectively the prize-money ($250,000) is the biggest worldwide for a challenger this year, with the men's money having tripled from last year and the women's doubled. 

The fact that tennis is a global game can be seen by the nationalities of the players who made the main draw for men and women by direct entry - 24 countries, and that isn't even including Great Britain!

Tickets can be purchased online at

Men's main draw entries (with world rankings): Malek Jaziri (Tunisia) 71, Victor Estrella Burgos (Dominican Republic) 90, Norbert Gombos (Slovakia) 93, Marius Copil (Romania) 94, Evgeny Donskoy (Russia) 99, Go Soeda (Japan) 111, Tennys Sandgren (USA) 113, Darian King (Barbados) 116, Paul-Henri Mathieu (France) 120, Ilya Marchenko (Ukraine) 122, Quentin Halys (France) 126, Yuki Bhambri (India) 127, Konstantin Kravchuk (Russia) 129, Peter Polansky (Canada) 132, Taylor Fritz (USA) 133, James Duckworth (Australia) 136, Jurgen Melzer (Austria) 137, Bjorn Fratangelo (USA) 138, Peter Gojowczyk (Poland) 141, John Millman (Australia) 142, Marton Fucsovics (Hungary) 148, Adrian Menendez-Maceiras (Spain) 150.

Women's main draw entries: Oceane Dodin (France) 56, Viktorija Golubic (Switzerland) 65, Andrea Petkovic (Germany) 79, Evgeniya Rodina (Russia) 80, Pauline Parmentier (France) 81, Madison Brengle (USA) 82, Julia Boserup (USA) 85, Ekaterina Alexandrova (Russia) 86, Kurumi Nara (Japan) 90, Madga Linette (Poland) 94, Kristina Kucova (Slovakia) 95, Maria Sakkari (Greece) 99, Tatjana Maria (Germany) 102, Denisa Allertova (Czech Republic) 104, Ana Bogdan (Romania) 106, Kai-Chen Chang (Chinese Taipei) 108, Magdalena Rybarikova (Slovakia) 108, Lin Zhu (China) 110, Xinyun Han (China) 111, Maryna Zanevska (Belguim) 112, Alison van Uytvanck (Belgium) 113, Aryna Sabalenka (Belorussia) 116.