Rye Lawn Tennis Club’s 89th Annual Invitation Tournament, from Friday July 29 until Monday August 1, once again sees the start of ten days of competitive tennis on the club’s immaculate grass courts on the banks of the River Rother.
This year’s entry of some 270 participants includes a number of skilled players from Italy, Germany, Holland and Slovenia as well as a strong field from all corners of the UK. With Jonathan Tassell, last year’s men’s singles champion, not defending his title, Dutch international Alex Soeters and New Zealand international Mark Hadley – both former winners – could be vying to recapture the trophy. They will come up against some tough opposition, however, including Slovenian Nikola Maljkovic, hot from an International Tennis Federation tournament in Paris, world rackets champions Alex Titchener-Barrett and Willie Boone, Wadhurst coach Matt Golledge and Colorado State University player David Mould, a newcomer to the Rye tournament. Tim Henman’s brother Richard, former tennis professional Robin Drysdale, Wiltshire county player Robert Loosemore and recent All England LTC chief executive Chris Gorringe also join the men’s line-up.
In the ladies’ singles, Hurlingham coach Karen Hazzard returns to defend her title in a strong draw which includes Queen’s players and former Rye winners Philippa Coates and Annabel Watson as well as Robin Drysdale’s daughter Olivia. Among Rye locals taking part are doctors Philip and Lelly James, Freddie Menzies who oversees the maintenance of the club’s grass courts and Peter Woodroffe, a former chairman of RLTC and the “oldest playing member”.
The singles and doubles finals will all be contested on Monday afternoon and members of the public are welcome to come and watch the action throughout the weekend.
The Junior Tournament, which follows on from Wednesday to Friday, also sees a strong draw of local youngsters as well as others coming to compete from further afield.
The Club’s Closed Tournament and Invitation Mixed Doubles take place through the weekend of August 6 and 7.
Rye LTC’s annual programme also includes tennis matches against other leading clubs in the UK and participation in the Sussex County and Wealden leagues. The Club is active in several other sports, including squash rackets, table tennis and croquet. There is a rapidly growing junior tennis section and a regular programme of coaching for juniors throughout the year. The field adjoining the grass tennis courts has recently been purchased as part of a long-term project to develop and further improve the facilities for members.
Photos: Ray Prewer