Boss Fletch: Loyal support has been key to Eastbourne tennis success

Gavin Fletcher
Gavin Fletcher

Tournament director Gavin Fletcher insists loyal tennis fans and the quality of play continue to make the Eastbourne International a huge success.

Fletcher has been overseeing events at Devonshire Park for 12 years and the tournament has continued to go from strength to strength.

“It is combination of many things that bring it together,” Fletcher said.

“But for me, we have a loyal client base that continue to support the tournament and come to watch the best players in the world.

“We have great history but at the end of the day we can’t put on a show if we haven’t got the players.

“And this year we have six of the world’s top 10, five former Eastbourne champions and three Grand Slam winners.

“The quality is there once again. The players continue to support the event and the fans will get to see some great tennis.

“The cut-off for the main draw is 45 in the world. That is why we always get the best players.”

The tennis has been an established event in the Eastbourne sporting calender since 1974 when Chris Evert won the title beating Virginia Wade in the final.

Continued TV and media coverage has helped promote Eastbourne across the globe while visiting fans help generate revenue for the local economy.

Fletcher added, “BBC and Eurosport will be here and the tournament will be shown in the more than 30 countries around the world.

“It is great for the tournament and great exposure for the town.

“It also generates £5m to the local economy and business. That is the figure given so financially it is of great benefit to the town.”

This year sees the tournament return to a womens’ event after six years of hosting the men.

Also on display will be the legends event including Lindsay Davenport, Marion Bartoli, Greg Rusedski and Jeremy Bates. The juniors will compete in an International Teams Event incorporating the Maureen Connolly Trophy between Great Britain and the USA and also featuring teams from the other two Grand Slam nations Australia and France. It takes place from Tuesday to Thursday and matches will be played on outside courts so fans with ground passes can enjoy all the junior action.

Fletcher added, “Everything is ready. The facilities look great, the courts are tremendous and it’s all shaping up to another great week of tennis in Eastbourne.”