Local tennis clubs in Eastbourne need support, too

From: Mary BarlowKings Avenue, Eastbourne

Thursday, 12th August 2021, 4:15 pm

I see that you wrote a short feature article in the issue of June 25, (Page 71), headed “Devvy is not the only place for tennis”, mentioning other venues, such as ROMPA in Meads.

Sadly, while the All England Club and Queens both have thriving club memberships, which co-exist with the major tournaments, our local council saw fit to edge out a thriving tennis club that had opened in Devonshire Park in 1879.

Eastbourne Borough Council seized the excuse of the recent refurbishment of the courts to prevent club members playing there.

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For years it has wanted to do this, former tourism boss Ron Cussons being the only council staff member who had actively supported club membership.

Eastbourne Borough Council now promotes other local tennis clubs instead, wishing to reserve Devonshire courts only for the big pre-Wimbledon and other smaller tournaments, such as County Week, the Veterans’ and South of England.

Do people know that the legendary Fred Perry was inspired to take up lawn tennis by the sight of our beautifully verdant grass courts, rated by stars Billie Jean and Martina Navratilova as the best in England, better than Wimbledon?

Eastbourne should benefit all its residents, not just be a money-spinning exercise in holding a few annual events.

Visitors to the town surely must enjoy seeing players using the courts all through the season, as they walk through the park?

It adds to the ambience.

We now have the white elephant that is The Beacon, the gaudy exterior of the new Towner.... come on Eastbourne Borough Council and LTA, tennis players need your support!