Devonshire Park had a royal visit yesterday (Wednesday).
Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Gloucester took to the court to visit tennis players competing in the Lawn Tennis Association’s (LTA) annual Summer County Cup tournament.
The Duchess, Honorary President of the LTA, met defending champions Hertfordshire Men and Kent Ladies who will be playing to retain their titles this week, the Head Groundsman and Referee of the event and took the opportunity to watch the action unfold on court.
Neil Bamford, deputy team captain for Hertfordshire Men and one of last year’s winning teams, said, “It was really nice meeting High Royal Highness and to have her down supporting the tournament.
“The Duchess was interested in knowing more about our team and has said she’ll be watching us play later today so we’ll be sure to perform our best and put on a good show!”
The Summer County Cup, which runs from July 23-27, is one of the oldest doubles-only tennis tournaments in the domestic calendar and Eastbourne plays host to Group 1, the premier level of competition.
This year, the tournament welcomes 44 competing counties with 7 groups in total, taking place at 13 venues across the country.
Julie Piper, LTA Tournament Director said, “I was delighted to welcome Her Royal Highness to this year’s Summer County Cup. It was incredibly special for the players to meet The Duchess and I have no doubt that her encouragement will spur them on during play this afternoon.
“Having Her Royal Highness onsite was incredibly important, as it demonstrates the recognition of this top-class event and its place within the British tennis calendar. I would urge anyone this week to come down, soak up the atmosphere and see some of the best county doubles players in action”.
In Eastbourne, six men’s and six women’s teams will compete on some of the best grass courts in the country, with the pride of representing their county at stake in the atmospheric setting of the seaside tennis venue.
The Duchess was on hand to offer words of encouragement to some of these teams, who are all fighting for the chance to be promoted, avoid relegation and ultimately become county Champions.
Weather permitting, play starts no later than 10.30am each day and entry is free for all.
For more information, including the draws and orders of play, visit www.lta.org.uk/