The 2015 AEGON International at Eastbourne will return to an all Ladies tournament with the much aligned Men’s event being shelved.
With 2014 being the 40th annual event at Eastbourne, this will bring an curtain down to the tournament that had in recent years been touted as a mini-Wimbledon on the sunny south coast of England.
There are likely to be cheers rather than tears for the majority of regular visitors to the tournament following the announcement by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) of a rethink about Eastbourne.
Endless complaints by visitors ever since the LTA introduced the Men’s event in 2009 had been heard all around Devonshire Park during the week-long tournament.
Prices had been hiked up year after year, which culminated in a high number of empty centre court seats during the 2013 AEGON International and was highlighted by the TV cameras.
This year will see the sixth and final Men’s single champion crowned at Eastbourne, who will join the roll of honours alongside Feliciano Lopez (2013 winner), Andy Roddick (2012), Andreas Seppi (2011), Michael Llodra (2010) and Dmitry Tursunov (2009).
Although the Men’s event has attracted some big names over the past five seasons, many of the leading stars played as their management allegedly signed them up for lucrative appearance fees to help boast ticket sales.
For the diehard Eastbourne tournament fan there are two bits of good news. Not only will the Men’s event move to Nottingham as from next year, but the main draw for the Ladies will be extended from 28 players to 48 entrants.
These plans are part of the sport’s determination to strengthen the grass court season from 2015, making it a three-week gap between the French Open and Wimbledon.
2015 ATP World Tour & WTA Tour British grass season
2015 Grass Court Season 8-14 June (week 1)
AEGON WTA at Nottingham Tennis Centre (WTA)
2015 Grass Court Season 15-21 June (week 2)
AEGON Championships at The Queen’s Club, London (ATP World Tour 500)
AEGON Classic at Edgbaston Priory Club, Birmingham (WTA Premier)
2015 Grass Court Season 22-28 June (week 3)
AEGON International at Devonshire Park,
Eastbourne (WTA Premier)
AEGON 250 at Nottingham Tennis Centre (ATP World Tour 250)
2015 Grass Court Season 29 June -12 July (weeks 4 and 5)
The Championships, Wimbledon