Home » Eastbourne: Concerns over plans to downgrade tennis tournament

Eastbourne: Concerns over plans to downgrade tennis tournament

Jacob Panons,BBC News, South East

Getty Images/Tom Dulat Madison Keys with the trophyGetty Images/Tom Dulat

Madison Keys won the competition in 2023

Concerns have been raised in Eastbourne after it emerged the town’s tennis tournament could be downgraded.

If plans are approved, the Eastbourne International would still go ahead but only three top-30 players could play.

The downgrade would be a result of the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and the All England Club achieving their aim of staging a women’s tournament at Queen’s in London in the first week of the grass court season from 2025.

Eastbourne Chamber of Commerce chief executive Christina Ewbank said the impact on the local economy could be “huge”.

LTA chief executive Scott Lloyd said: “The reality of that location [Eastbourne] is that it is commercially limited to some degree.”

He claimed the LTA would still “absolutely support” its venues, including Eastbourne.

Christina Ewbank Christina EwbankChristina Ewbank

Christina Ewbank said she was disappointed to learn about the potential downgrade

Ms Ewbank said it was “very disappointing” to hear about the potential downgrade.

She added that the tournament is “a fantastic advert for Eastbourne and the South Coast”.

She said: “We urge the LTA to think of the players, who love playing in Eastbourne, and the jobs that will be lost if they move to London.

“Please don’t contribute to the two-tier economy of this country where London becomes ever richer and the rest of the country suffers.”

‘Legacy’

The Eastbourne Business Improvement District (BID) said it was also “concerned” over the potential downgrade.

A BID spokesperson said the group was told by the LTA that no concrete decisions had been made yet.

They added that they had “stressed to the LTA” the importance of ensuring that Eastbourne remains a major tournament, and “to carry on the legacy of the event”.

Eastbourne Borough Council said leader Stephen Holt and MP Caroline Ansell would meet with the LTA to confirm future plans.

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