LTA impressed with facilities at Sunderland Tennis Centre

The Sunderland Tennis Centre hosted an international event for the second time in a matter of weeks in March.

Having hosted the North-East Wheelchair Tennis Tournament at the end of Febraury, it was the venue for the Aegon GD Pro-Series event.

The tournament, which had both men and women taking part for the first time this year, saw players from around the world arrive in Sunderland to compete.

John Schofield, President of Durham and Cleveland LTA, was there to give out the trophies to the winners and runners-up and he believes it is really positive for the area to have events like this happening here.

He said: “It’s good for the centre to have international events on here on a fairly regular basis now; it is good for the North-East to be able to put on this.

And this is a centre which can cope with it because there aren’t too many centres with eight courts that provide a mixed pro tournament of this calibre.”

He also praised the city for being able to keep a centre like this going in the current financial climate.

“In financial situations as it is at the moment, to keep a centre like this going and be so active is great news,” he said.

“With so many of them closing due to financial difficulties the fact that the City of Sunderland are keen to keep this which is now a hub for Sunderland and is the main leisure centre and is the only centre in the area is good.

“And if we can attract tournaments of this calibre and international wheelchair events and so on then that is really good.”

The Aegon GB Pro-Series tournament offers $15,000 prize money for the women and $10,000 for the men.

Tournament director Richard Joyner said: “I’m very pleased with how the tournament has gone because the centre themselves are so welcoming and helpful, the facilities are obviously really good which makes a big difference.

“We’ve had a lot of compliments coming from the players in terms of the event and there’s beena nice atmosphere with it being a mixed event, where previously Sunderland’s had a single sex event, so that sort of adds to the atmosphere.”

And Richard thinks the centre’s number and quality of courts plus its other facilities should stand it in good stead for holding the tournament again next year.

He said: “I don’t decide where the events go myself but I can’t imagine a scenario, unless there weren’t any events happening, where a mixed event wouldn’t come back here. For me it seems like the obvious choice.”

Women’s singles runner-up Alison Van Uytvanck was also pleased with the facilities and organisation of the Sunderland event.

The Belgium said: “They have a nice fitness suite, eight beautiful courts, they have a nice swimming pool and you don’t see it often. England has one of the most beautiful environments to play tennis.”

Published online here.

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