Number one seed Cagla Buyukakcay admits she would rather have avoided fellow Turkish player Pemra Ozgen in the main draw for the $25K Aegon GB Pro-Series tournament at The Shrewsbury Club.
The close friends, who teamed up to win the doubles event at the Sundorne Road venue last year, were paired against each other when the draw was made during a civic reception at the Sundorne Road venue last night.
The draw was conducted by Lord Lieutenant of Shropshire, Sir Algernon Heber-Percy, and the High Sherriff of Shropshire, Robert Bland, in front of a host of distinguished guests.
Cagla, who is ranked 144 in the current world rankings, said: "Pemra's one of my friends and we play doubles together all the time, not here this week, but generally we play together.
"We won the doubles together here last year and we have competed in Turkey for so many years so it's sad that we have to play each other in the first round because we are the only two Turkish girls in the tournament.
"But this is the draw, it can happen, and I hope it will be a good match for both of us."
Cagla added she was pleased to be back in Shrewsbury competing in a tournament which includes eight rising stars from across Europe now ranked in the world's top 200.
"It's very nice to be here," she said. "It's good courts, good people, so I really like to come here every year.
"I know it's a small town but a lot of people come and watch every day. Even during the qualifiers there were people here watching the tennis.
"It's good that they like tennis and they like to come and watch. It's good motivation for the players so I hope this week will be fun for them too."
The draw is dominated by overseas players, but five Brits also feature in the first round, among them 18-year-old Harriet Dart who successfully came through two qualifying matches to set up a clash against Lithuanian Lina Stanciute.
Harriet said: "I played here last year when I had a wild card into the main draw but this time I've come through qualifying which is good. Every match is tough so it will be a tough match whoever I play against."
Dave Courteen, managing director of The Shrewsbury Club, added he was delighted by the success of last night's civic reception and the support the tournament continues to receive from local people.
He said: "It all sends a message to the players, officials and the LTA just how important this tournament is to the town and how much their presence here is appreciated.
"We have players coming back that have been competing here now for four or five years. They come back because they love it so that's really great and it's good news for the town."
Speeches were also made at the civic reception by Mayor of Shrewsbury, Councillor Beverley Baker, Chris Hinks, the chairman of Tennis Shropshire, and LTA tournament director Julie Piper.
First round matches at The Shrewsbury Club start at 10.30am and admission is free for spectators.
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