Eastbourne should capitalise on its tennis offering

From: Clive L A BennettPrentis Road, Streatham,

Friday, 2nd July 2021, 10:01 am

With BBC2 offering its time-served utility coverage with the usual suspects of anchor and analysis, it was even more disappointing to find that there was still nothing in direction to link the immaculate Devonshire Park environment with what is an event of high profile for the town.

Routine two-shots were endlessly applied and apart from an occasional longshot with a view of the dressing rooms at the Devonshire Park Theatre, we were deprived of sharing the well-placed prestige of a town blessed with an undeniable built heritage, soon to live again through the impressive development of the Winter Garden that could partner as a truly iconic venue for next year in hosting a linked event in harmony with the Towner Gallery.

What about the Clothing Crew sponsoring a trendy fashion show in attracting another side of tennis and promoting demographics of step-change that would welcome spectators new to the sport, able to enjoy matches equal to that of Roland Garros held in the racquet grip of high class players from right around the world.

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Hoteliers could be involved with concessional tickets and promoting sporting equipment from Dunlop and Slazenger with their products linked to suppliers in the town.

Perhaps it’s a 46-year-old secret with the Eastbourne Tourist Board keen to see it remain that way, because when arriving at the railway station on our recent and regular visit to Eastbourne, it could have been anywhere, apart from what it is – a progressive town of enterprise and home to an International Lawn Tennis Tournament.

Interviews were predictably posed through comparisons, but why remain in the shadows of recognition and so shaded by the greatest lawn tennis tournament in the world.

Why not try to emulate an achievement that is within the reach of this beautiful Sussex coastal town, because on Monday June 28 Wimbledon will once again be alive to its responsibilities in promoting and welcoming back to SW19 an international tennis fraternity, bursting with enthusiasm to get back on court again alongside all those connected networks of involvement.

Is Eastbourne to remain deuce dull for yet another year, or having produced an unseeded champion in Jelena Ostapenko for whom tennis is a natural expression of emotional energy, set within the courageous development of a talent the like of which is a joy to behold, I most certainly hope not!