Huge blow for Eastbourne: International tennis extravaganza is called off

Tennis chiefs have cancelled Eastbourne's huge week of tennis in June.

Wednesday, 1st April 2020, 8:50 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd April 2020, 5:10 pm
A large crowd watches as Kiki Bertens and Karolina Pliskova play their semi-final at the Nature Valley International at Devonshire Park ;last June / Picture: Charlie Crowhurst, Getty

The LTA, in conjunction with the All England Club, the ITF, ATP and WTA, has announced today the cancellation of the Nature Valley International (20-27 June), following the latest advice from the UK Government and the suspension of professional tennis due to the escalating coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The tournament was due to take place at Devonshire Park, Eastbourne, but has been cancelled alongside all of the LTA summer grass court major events including the Fever-Tree Championships at The Queen’s Club (15-21 June), Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham (13-21 June) and the Nature Valley Open in Nottingham (6-14 June).

The British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships in Nottingham (21-26 July) has also been cancelled, although the LTA has reserved the option to re-stage the tournament later in the season.

This news comes alongside today’s announcement regarding the cancellation of the 2020 edition of The Championships, Wimbledon, along with the ATP, WTA and ITF confirmation that all professional tennis around the world remains suspended until 13 July 2020.

The cancellation period also covers the ITF/ATP Trophy Series events staged by the LTA in Manchester (8-14 June) and Ilkley (15-21 June), the ITF junior Grade 1 events in Nottingham (22-27 June) and Roehampton (28 June-3 July) and the ITF Wheelchair events held alongside the Tour events at Birmingham and Queen’s.

Fans who bought tickets to The Fever-Tree Championships or Nature Valley-sponsored events in Nottingham, Birmingham or Eastbourne will have a choice of receiving a face value refund or rolling their ticket forward to the 2021 event. These details will be sent via email or letter from the ticketing providers. For any ticket buyers to the LTA Trophy Series events at Surbiton, Manchester or Ilkley, the face value of any tickets purchased will automatically be refunded via The Ticket Factory.

Scott Lloyd, LTA Chief Executive said: “Given the escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic, the latest government advice and our discussions with the ATP, WTA, ITF and AELTC, it is with deep regret that our summer grass court tournaments and the British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships have been cancelled for 2020.

"This is an unprecedented situation and the health of those attending our tournaments as spectators, players, staff, media, sponsors and guests had to be our number one consideration. We at the LTA will be working hard to support our wider tennis community to allow the sport a strong return to health when conditions allow. In the meantime we hope that our tennis fans are staying safe and we look forward to welcoming them back to tennis when we can.”

Gavin Fletcher, LTA Tournament Director for the Nature Valley International, said: “It is with a heavy heart that the decision has been taken to cancel the Nature Valley International along with our other summer events. We would like to thank everyone who supports this event and helps make it so special and we look forward to returning in 2021.”

In the coming days, the LTA will be announcing a series of measures to support those involved in tennis in Britain during this unprecedented situation. This will include support for tennis venues, coaches, officials and players affected by the coronavirus pandemic, with the goal of ensuring that tennis in Britain emerges from this period in as strong and healthy position as possible, and the sport is able to resume its unique role in keeping the nation active.

In the meantime, the fans can keep entertained and up to date with their favourite players and news in their living rooms via exclusive content on the LTA’s digital channels @the_lta on Twitter, @LTA on Instagram and LTA – Tennis for Britain on Facebook.

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