Tennis Club opens its doors

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2018 Men's finalists Lewis Burton (l, with trophy) and Jean Thirouin

Rye Lawn Tennis Club’s 92nd Annual Invitation Tournament, from Friday August 2 to Monday August 5, once again sees the start of 10 days of competitive tennis on the club’s immaculate grass courts on the banks of the River Rother. This year’s entry of some 240 participants includes skilled players from Holland, Spain and France as well as a strong field from all corners of the UK.

Lewis Burton on his way to the title in 2018

In the men’s singles line-up, last year’s winner Lewis Burton, one of the highest ranked players to compete in the tournament, returns to defend his title against some tough opposition, including his Queen’s Club team-mate and 2017 winner Oscar Podlewski. Also joining the challenge are talented Middlesex player George Davies (men’s doubles winner with Rupert de Laszlo in 2016), former Kent county champion Michael Suleau, Londoner Ben Zuckerman, Hurlingham coach Ben Nash and Worcester county player Charlie Crisp.

Competing alongside the younger challengers are a number of experienced Rye Tournament regulars, including former New Zealand international and three-times men’s singles winner Mark Hadley, former world rackets champion Willie Boone and former tennis professional Robin Drysdale.

In the ladies’ draw, which last year saw two visiting Americans contest the final, strong competitors for the cup include Surrey county player and 2017 ladies champion Victoria Brook, young Swede Maria Alexandroff and talented British player Natalie Haden-Scott, as well as sports commentator John Inverdale’s daughter Josie, Hurlingham head coach and 2015 winner Karen Hazzard and Julia van Rosendael from Amsterdam.

Sam Martinelli takes the 2018 Ladies cup

Among the locals taking up the challenge are the Duvoisin family from Rye, Louis and Luc and mother Sally, Rye Ladies team captain Fran Sharp and Camber residents Fred and Martha Holt, the grandchildren of Bimby Holt who as chairman of Rye LTC ran the tournament for many years.

The action is ongoing throughout the weekend, with the finals being contested on Monday afternoon, and members of the public are welcome to come and watch.
The Junior Tournament, which follows on from Wednesday to Friday, also sees a good number of local youngsters taking part as well as others coming to compete from further afield. The Club’s Closed Tournament and Invitation Mixed Doubles will be held through the weekend of August 10 and 11.

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, table tennis and croquet. There is a rapidly growing junior tennis section and a regular programme of coaching for adults and juniors throughout the year.

A number of junior players have competed this year in the Road to Wimbledon, an LTA initiative to encourage players of 14 and under, as well as taking part in the Quorn Family Tennis Cup which pairs up adults and children and a Team Challenge match against The Green, St Leonards (which Rye won). The Club recently purchased the field adjoining the grass tennis courts as part of a long-term project to develop the facilities for members and to promote and improve community participation in tennis.

Image Credits: Rye LTC .

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