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7 April 2016, 11:22 | Updated: 7 April 2016, 12:18
The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) have announced that both men and women will be playing at the tournament in Eastbourne at Devonshire Park from June 2017.
The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) has today in conjunction with The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon, announced changes to further enhance the British grass court season in the lead up to The Championships to create a bigger and better british grass court season in the run up to Wimbledon.
The improvements see men’s and women’s professional tennis together at both Nottingham and Eastbourne, while the doubling of prize money at the pre-Wimbledon ATP Challenger and ITF Women’s Pro Circuit Events at Surbiton, Manchester and Ilkley mean that these three weeks will total record investment at this level leading into a Grand Slam tournament.
These significant changes will ensure an enhanced tournament calendar in providing athletes, fans, sponsors and broadcasters an even better platform to showcase the sport, ensuring more streamlined and effective tournament operations, while delivering against the LTA’s strategy to get more people playing tennis more often.
Steve Simon, WTA CEO, stated, “The Aegon International Eastbourne has been a staple of women’s professional tennis in the UK for over 40 years, boasting champions such as Martina Navratilova, Monica Seles, Justine Henin and most recently Belinda Benic. I am pleased to see this historical event expand even more as Eastbourne returns to a combined WTA and ATP event. This is a true testament to the continual growth of tennis in the UK and worldwide.”
Eastbourne Borough Council, Councillor David Tutt, said: "I am delighted that the men's event will be returning to Eastbourne. This is a real vote of confidence in the town by the LTA. Together, we are not only working to enhance facilities at Devonshire Park, but have also upgraded the community based tennis offer within the town. Devonshire Park has a proud reputation for top quality courts and has played host to the pre-Wimbledon women's event since the 1970s, the addition of the men's tournament opens a new chapter in the Eastbourne story."
Tara McGregor-Woodhams, Head of Brand and Sponsorship Aegon UK, commented: “Grass court tennis is synonymous with British summer and to see such a strong programme of events in place suggests 2017 will be a year to remember.”