Rye Lawn Tennis Club’s 88th Annual Invitation Tournament, from Friday July 31 until Monday August 3, showcases ten days of competitive tennis on the club’s magnificent grass courts on the banks of the River Rother. Among this year’s 265 entrants are several skilled players from France, Germany and Italy as well as an eight-strong contingent from Ljubljana in Slovenia originally introduced to Rye by former Ambassador to Slovenia Andrew Page.
Facing them is plenty of home-grown talent, including former men’s singles and doubles champion Jonathan Tassell, Bromley National Team Squad member Harry Skinner, gifted 15-year-old Londoner Brandon Drew, Amherst and Hawkhurst coach Matt Golledge, East Sussex county player Joe Adams and International Lawn Tennis Club team member Mark Beim. Last year’s men’s doubles and mixed doubles champion, New Zealand international Mark Hadley, also returns to the courts to do battle.
The ladies draw includes Josefin Hjertquist from Sweden, narrowly beaten in last year’s semi-final by Yale University’s Annie Sullivan who went on to win the ladies singles title, as well as former tennis professional Karin Lusnic from Slovenia, Hurlingham coach Karen Hazzard, Queen’s Club first team captain Annabel Watson and Rye LTC coach and UK number 1 senior in her age group Frances Candy.
Tim Henman’s parents Tony and Jane and brother Richard, former tennis professional Robin Drysdale and recent All England LTC chief executive Chris Gorringe also join the line-up. The finals will 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 field of youngsters from all corners of the UK. The Club’s Closed Tournament and Invitation Mixed Doubles take place through the weekend of 8th and 9th August.
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, croquet and padel tennis. There is a growing junior tennis section and a regular programme of coaching for juniors throughout the year. Last year the Club purchased the field adjoining the grass tennis courts as part of a long-term project to develop and further improve the facilities for members.