DCSIMG

No sunshine but plenty of smiles at tennis

17/8/2011 (MA) AGENDA CANOE LAKE

Agenda on Canoe Lake in Southsea celebrating it's 125th anniversary.

Pictured is: The swan and duck pedalos on Canoe Lake.

Picture: Sarah Standing (112935-9165) ENGPPP00120110817180234

17/8/2011 (MA) AGENDA CANOE LAKE Agenda on Canoe Lake in Southsea celebrating it's 125th anniversary. Pictured is: The swan and duck pedalos on Canoe Lake. Picture: Sarah Standing (112935-9165) ENGPPP00120110817180234

The sun is yet to shine on the Aegon International but there have still been plenty of smiles around Devonshire Park as the tournament kicked off on Saturday.

Hundreds of people turned up to watch the qualifying rounds on Saturday and Sunday to cheer on the bunch of Brits hoping to make it through to the main draw, which started on Monday morning.

However, competitive tennis took a back seat on Sunday as players took to the court in another part of the Rally for Bally tour - a charity event raising money for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity in memory of British tennis player Elena Baltacha, who died of liver cancer in May.

The former British number one was a regular face at Devonshire Park during her playing career and more than £57,000 has been raised in her memory so far.

At the Aegon International on Sunday, Australian and former French Open finalist Sam Stosur walked among the crowds at Devonshire Park selling the bright yellow Rally for Bally wristbands while Greg Rusedski, Petra Kvitova, Agnieszka Radwanksa and Colin Fleming played a doubles match on Centre Court.

The event gave Eastbourne fans a glimpse of the top-class talent due to be on offer for the rest of the week, including regular favourites Caroline Wozniacki, Heather Watson and local girl Johanna Konta.

Head groundsman Andy Bacon and his team have been working year-round to get the courts up to their notorious world-class standard and a team of Moira House Girls School pupils have been drafted in as ball girls, towel attendants and stewards.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of top-level tennis in Eastbourne and will also be the last year in which the tournament hosts a men’s draw as well as a women’s event. The men joined in 2009 but from 2015, will play in a new ATP event in Nottingham called the Aegon 250.

The Aegon International is set to be broadcast live in 30 different countries.

 

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