CAROLINE ANSELL MP: Lucky to have such a fantastic tennis tournament each year

Caroline Ansell, MP for Eastbourne SUS-160604-141512001
Caroline Ansell, MP for Eastbourne SUS-160604-141512001

We in Eastbourne are very lucky to have such a fantastic tennis tournament, hosted each year at the stunning Devonshire Park.

The Lawn Tennis Association has invested millions over the years in the site and the tournament, as well as other tournaments at the venue during the course of the year.

This year will be no exception. Between June 18 and 25 we will be the focus of the sporting world again when the AEGON sponsored tournament returns as the traditional Wimbledon curtain raiser for the women’s game, showcasing some of the world’s finest tennis talent.

Over the years all the big names in the female game have played Eastbourne; the Williams sisters, Martina Hingis, Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Virginia Wade, Caroline Wozniacki, Kim Clijsters and Lindsey Davenport - you name them they’ve all been here.

And of course now we have our very own Jo Konta who is based in Eastbourne, and reached the semis of the Australian Open in January, has confirmed her attendance in Eastbourne this year.

One of the areas I am keen to promote is the work the LTA does with local schools and clubs here in Eastbourne, in the build up to the big week.

Tennis is such a wonderful game, to get youngsters enjoying it, especially with some of the facilities we have in Eastbourne, they are likely to have the interest for life.

Lots of the local schools will benefit from the extra activities the LTA organises in the build up to the Eastbourne tournament, much of it free of charge, including for those who are visually impaired - inspiring work.

On Saturday June 18 anyone going to see the tennis (this is the weekend before the full draw starts), the stunning Davis Cup, which the British team won last year, will be on display and you can have your photo taken with it as I did recently! It’s the second biggest tournament cup in the world!

Let me end with a plug for the local tennis activity in Eastbourne.

As part of the Eastbourne legacy of having such a prestigious tournament locally, there is a scheme called Eastbourne Borough Tennis where, if you are a resident within the Eastbourne Borough Council district, you can get free family membership.

There are other packages as well, up to and including an all-inclusive coaching package.

So make the most of Fisherman’s Green, Hampden Park, Old Town Rec and of course the wonderful ‘Tennis in the Park’ at Gildredge Park.

Details on eastbourneboroughtennis.com and my website, http://carolineansell.co.uk/