Eastbourne Tennis tournament director Gavin Fletcher insists the LTA reamins committed to Devonshire Park despite switching the men’s event to Nottingham.
The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) announced on Monday that the mens’ ATP250 event, which has been hosted in Eastbourne for the last five years, will move to the Nottingham Tennis Centre from 2015 but the womens’ WTA premier event will remain.
Fletcher said, “With changes in the international calendar, plus the need for both men’s and women’s draws to increase in size, it is necessary for the men’s and women’s events to be split.
“As a consequence, the men will be moving to Nottingham from 2015, whilst the women’s event will remain in Eastbourne.
“We are very grateful to all the local tennis fans for their continued support of this tournament which will this year be celebrating its’ 40th year.
“We remain committed to hosting a world class tournament in Eastbourne, and look forward to working closely with Eastbourne Borough Council to welcome some of the world’s best female players once again.”
The men’s competition was added to the Eastbourne International in 2009 and ran alongside the long-established womens’ competition.
The ATP250 is ranked as the lowest tier of events on the tour and therefore, unlike the women’s draw, it failed to attract the big names. The likes of Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic Andy Murray and Roger Federer never arrived and preferred to fine tune their Wimbledon preparations at The Queen’s Club tournament in London.
Despite that, having the men in town proved popular for tennis fans. Andy Roddick’s appearance in 2012 and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s cameo on centre court in that same year were perhaps the highlights of the ATP Tour’s brief stay in Eastbourne.
Dmitry Tursanov of Russia won the first men’s final at Devonshire Park in 2009, and wins followed for Michael Llodra, Andreas Seppi, Roddick and Feliciano Lopez.
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