Anyone for tennis?

Wimbledon stars are coming to Eastbourne - book now!

How do you get Wimbledon-quality tennis without leaving Sussex or camping out on pavements? Grab some strawberries and a jug of Pimms and I’ll tell you…

If the Aegon International Eastbourne hasn’t been on your radar before, it really should be. It’s a Wimbledon warm up on grass courts at Devonshire Park with some top players flexing their considerable muscles. It runs 23 June to 1 July this year with a great value family weekend kicking off proceedings. I went along last year and was really impressed. Here’s one of my snaps below…

Last year it was an all-women event but this year the boys are back in town and the sparkling line up includes seven of the world’s top ten WTA women and six of the top 30 world-ranked ATP men players.

Reigning French Open Champion Garbiñe Muguruza joins British No.1 Johanna Konta (who actually grew up in Eastbourne), defending champion Dominika Cibulkova, former champions Caroline Wozniacki, Agnieszka Radwanska and Svetlana Kuznetsova, and world No. 3 Karolina Pliskova.

British stars Kyle Edmund, Aljaz Bedene and Dan Evans join the stellar men’s line-up that includes two time Eastbourne champion Feliciano Lopez, Richard Gasquet, and Wimbledon hero John Isner.

I saw Johanna Konta playing at the event last year and it was a real treat. My brother took his boys (both under ten) along another day and they also had a great time soaking in the atmosphere.

There’s a steep rake on the seats on centre court so you get a fantastic view no matter where you are. There are the fun trappings of Wimbledon too like strawberries and champers on sale and a grassy area you can have a picnic and, if you have a grounds pass alone, watch the action on big screens. This year on 27 June there’s also going to be a Ladies Day sponsored by Dove with a fun photo booth and a best hat competition – but oi, take it off if you’re going to be sitting in front of me!

What’s more adults and children can enjoy a FREE day of tennis on Friday 23 June during the qualifying weekend, when the world’s top players compete for their place in the tournament! Kids also go free on Sat 24 and Sun 25 June while adult tickets for those days are £10 or £22. Children can get grounds passes for free all other days.

Devonshire Park is not far from the seafront and right next to the impressive Towner Gallery.  Elsewhere in town The Grand Hotel, will be getting into the spirit by laying on a tennis-themed afternoon tea and cocktails (already bookable) – of which I got an eye-rollingly good sneak preview – I’ll give you the full lowdown another time but for now here’s a peek…

Tickets for the Aegon International Eastbourne are available from  lta.org.uk

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