NO LESS than 18 British players will be in qualifying action today (Sunday) as the Ilkley Trophy returns after a two-year absence.

Nine of them will get to play on the two show courts in the $125,000 ATP Challenger and $100,000 ITF Women’s World Tour events at Ilkley Lawn Tennis & Squash Club.

The hardest task on paper probably falls to wild card Charles Broom, with the 24-year-old world No.377 facing former world No.6 Gilles Simon on Centre Court

The 37-year-old Frenchman, who has announced that this year will be his last on the tour, reached the third round at the French Open last month, defeating 16th seed Pablo Carreno Busto in the first round in a five-set match that lasted close to four hours.

Simon has reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open and Wimbledon and is currently ranked world No.134.

Luca Pow, another British wild card, also gets to tread the immaculate-looking Centre Court at Ilkley, with the 17-year-old facing Germany’s Daniel Masur.

Preceding these two matches are two women’s clashes with British interest, with 24-year-old Scot Maia Lumsden playing sixth-seeded qualifier Gabriela Ce (Brazil), and 17-year-old Ranah Akua Stoiber meeting qualifying top seed Elsa Jacquemot (France), who is world-ranked 215.

Top seed in the main draw of the men’s singles is Australia’s Jordan Thompson, world ranked 78, who has not been beyond the quarter-finals in two previous attempts at Ilkley.

The men’s main draw includes two former world top-tenners in Fernando Verdasco (Spain), who is seeded sixth, and Jack Sock (United States), who is seeded fifth.

Play starts daily at 11am, and the finals will be held on Sunday, June 19.