Eastbourne is key part of historic English tennis competition

One of the oldest competitions in the annual domestic tennis calendar takes place in the coming week in its 125th anniversary, as the LTA Summer County Cup returns following the cancellation of last year’s event, owing to the pandemic.

Sunday, 18th July 2021, 9:45 am
Devonshire Park, Eastbourne, from the air / Picture: LTA Viking International Eastbourne

First played in 1895, County Week is one of the longest running tournaments in the tennis calendar. Monday 19 to Friday 23 July will see 44 counties across seven groups compete at 13 grass court venues up and down the country, with Eastbourne’s Devonshire Park, in this milestone year, once again staging the premier Group 1 matches in the competition. The traditional home of the event will witness six women’s and six men’s teams battle it out for the 2021 County Cup titles.

Several household names have competed in the County Cup over the years in a list that includes Andy, Jamie and Judy Murray, Sue Barker, Tim Henman, Dan Evans, Jack Draper, Harriet Dart and Andrew Castle, who represented Somerset during the 2019 event.

County teams are organised into seven women’s groups and seven men’s groups, with teams for each tie consisting of three doubles pairs. This year will once again see over 200 ties and almost 2,000 rubbers played during the week, as teams from 44 counties across Great Britain compete to earn promotion and avoid relegation from their respective groups.

Kent are the reigning men's champions, clinching the 2019 trophy after being newly promoted into Group One that year. Hertfordshire Ladies defeated Warwickshire on the final day to win the event, with Emily Arbuthnott performing outstandingly for Hertfordshire winning 15 rubbers out of 15.

LTA Tournament Director Julie Piper said: “We are once again excited to be returning to Eastbourne to the fantastic courts at Devonshire Park for our 125th anniversary. The players all feel a great sense of pride representing their County and play with incredible passion in front of the watching crowds.

“There is always a great atmosphere which is part of what makes this event such a special part of the tennis calendar. It’s free to attend and we’d love to see as many local people as possible come along to support the players and witness hard-fought, competitive tennis.”

The Eastbourne event at Devonshire Park is the pinnacle of the County Cup, with a further 12 grass court venues around the country staging events for Groups 2 – 7 in each of the men’s and women’s events. The leading two counties in each group earn promotion to the group above them for the 2022 competition, with the bottom two counties relegated to the group below.

Play will get under way no later than 10.30am each day (weather permitting) and entry is free for all. For more information, including the draws and orders of play, click here.