Venus Williams beats hometown favourite Johanna Konta
Venus Williams has beaten hometown favourite Johanna Konta to reach her ninth Wimbledon singles final and became the oldest woman in 23 years to reach a Wimbledon final. Venus defied her age and a despondent home crowd to inflict a crushing defeat on British hope Johanna Konta on Thursday.
Eight years after her last Wimbledon final and more than two decades since Martina Navratilova became the last 37-year-old to reach the same stage, Williams produced the sort of attacking performance that led her to five titles in her heyday.
Her 6-4, 6-2 semi-final win over the Australian-born Briton was a clinical execution and set up a Saturday showdown with Garbine Muguruza, whose own ruthless demolition of Magdalena Rybarikova whetted the appetite for an intriguing final.
It will be Williams's ninth at Wimbledon and the stage for a potential eighth grand slam crown — and having defied the odds to reach this point, few would now bet against her.
Konta was looking to become the first British woman to reach the Wimbledon final since Virginia Wade in 1977, but her hopes were crushed as Williams picked her off at crucial points.
The American, who has dropped only one set all tournament, was too strong for her opponent from the baseline and was able to produce booming serves whenever Konta threatened.
After initially going toe-to-toe with Williams, Konta was unable to generate any sort of sustained pressure and ended the contest a clear second best, losing eight of the final 10 games.
She saved two match points before Williams finally ended her resistance with a devilish forehand that flew past the Briton and left the American to twirl in celebration on Centre Court.
Konta's one chance to upset Williams came in the ninth game of the first set when the Briton crafted two break points.
It proved only a fleeting window of opportunity, however, as Williams saved the first with a backhand winner and launched a 106mph second serve to snuff out the second.
That was as good as it got for Konta, who was immediately broken in the next game to cede the opening set and then twice more in the second as Williams wrapped up victory over her sixth-seeded opponent in an hour and 13 minutes.
"She dictated the match from the very first ball till the very last one," Konta said. "I think she just showed her true qualities and why she's a five-time champion here, just a true champion that she is."
Johanna Konta is storming her way through Wimbledon
Eastbourne's own and Devonshire Park's lifetime member, Johanna Konta is storming her way through Wimbledon and becomes the first British woman since 1978 to reach Wimbledon semi-finals following her win over Simona Halep.
In beating Simona Halep on Centre Court yesterday, Konta produced the finest performance we have seen from a British woman at Wimbledon – in the era of graphite rackets, at least.
Johanna Konta did more than win a tennis match at Wimbledon on Tuesday. In the performance of her life – which may well lead to many others – she turned doubters into believers and conquering the nerves that once threatened to strangle her talent, beat the world No2, Simona Halep, in three sets of the highest quality to become the first British woman semi-finalist here since Virginia Wade in 1978.
Halep brought out the very best in Konta, who has blossomed beyond all expectation. “It’s a little bit surreal,” the Briton said. “It’s incredible how quickly things go in tennis. I’m still digesting things. I felt very clear on what I was trying to achieve out there, regardless of whether it was going my way or not. I knew she was really not going to give me much for free. I had to create my own chances, and I was fortunate to take a few of them.”
Indeed she did, breaking the tough Romanian twice from eight chances. Her serve was solid, some of her groundstrokes blistering and her composure as impressive as at any time in her career.
Konta, at 26, has become the player that Laura Robson – still only 23 – often was and might yet be again: an uncompromising hitter whose core strategy is to drill the ball deep, shot after shot, and grind her opponent down. Robson probably hit the ball harder at her peak before injury cut her down, but Konta has a more mechanical and reliable swing that brings her winners through attrition rather than spectacularly.
All of her skills and a few lingering wisps of her old vulnerability were on show. However, it was not the occasion that induced fault lines in her attack, but her wonderful opponent, whose discipline kept her unforced errors to only nine over two hours and 38 minutes. This was an unmitigated battle of muscle, endurance and courage in the shot. Neither of them held back for a second.
Karolina Pliskova takes the women's singles title at the AEGON International Eastbourne
Karolina Pliskova claimed victory in the women’s singles final to go one better than she managed last year when she finished runner-up at Devonshire Park.
In the day’s first match on Centre, third seed Pliskova defeated Caroline Wozniacki to seal the title with a comfortable straight sets success, 6-4, 6-4.
Pliskova lost to Dominika Cibulkova in the final a year ago but, after benefiting from a walkover in Friday’s semi-final following the withdrawal of Johanna Konta, she swept to victory in an hour and 22 minutes.
Wozniacki was a champion on the grass of Devonshire Park back in 2009 but eight years later the final proved a match too far for the sixth seed as she struggled to cope with the power on the other side of the net.
The Eastbourne crown marks Pliskova’s third title of the year after winning in Brisbane and Doha, and extends her number of match wins this year to a WTA-leading 36.
The last Czech to win on the south coast was Jana Novotna in 1998. She went on to win Wimbledon and become the most recent player to win the Eastbourne-Wimbledon double. Pliskova will enjoy every ounce of confidence this victory brings going into next week’s Championships at SW19.
Novak Djokovic wins the AEGON International on route to Wimbledon
Novak Djokovic proved his form for Wimbledon by beating Gael Monfils 6-3 6-4 to win the Aegon International.
The three-time Wimbledon winner has had a below-par season but did not drop a set in his first Eastbourne appearance.
It was the 12-time Grand Slam champion's first title since January and the 68th of his career.
Djokovic did not drop a set all week as he made himself at home on his first trip to the south coast event. The world No.4 powered through a quality field to win his second ATP World Tour title of the year, the first coming in January at the Qatar Open.
Monfils was a worthy opponent in the final of the ATP 250 event. The Frenchman came through several tough encounters on his way to Saturday’s showdown, including a three-set epic against compatriot and former Wimbledon semi-finalist Richard Gasquet in the last-four.
However, Djokovic proved too good on the grass as he broke his opponent three times for a convincing win, justifying his status as second seed at next week’s Championships in Wimbledon.
Djokovic, who was playing the week before Wimbledon for the first time since 2010, faces Slovakia's Martin Klizan in the first round at SW19. "This is the best possible preparation for Wimbledon so hopefully I can go on from here," the 30-year-old said.
The Serb also confirmed his friend and former player Mario Ancic would join his coaching team, along with Andre Agassi, on a temporary basis at Wimbledon.
Novak Djokovic accepts wild card entry to AEGON International Eastbourne
Djokovic has accepted a main draw wildcard for the Aegon International at Eastbourne where he will be top seed for the event from June 23 to July 1.
It is the first time the 30-year-old has played a grass-court tournament between the French Open and Wimbledon since 2010.
Djokovic joins France's Gael Monfils, Americans John Isner and Steve Johnson at Devonshire Park, as well as Britons Kyle Edmund, Aljaz Bedene and Dan Evans.
Tournament director Gavin Fletcher is delighted to welcome Djokovic to the Aegon International, “The quality of the men’s and women’s entries is already incredibly high, and the addition of Novak will take the event to an even higher level,” said Fletcher.
Novak tweeted earlier this month, "This will be my first trip to Eastbourne, I have heard great things about the tournament." and we're certainly looking forward to seeing him at Devonshire Park!
By Derren Howard Eastbourne's highly-respected tennis coach Clay Iles was lost for words as he accepted a Lifetime Achievement Award from Tennis Sussex at the AMEX Stadium last Saturday.Clay, who competed at Wimbledon six times during his playing career, received the award from Hollie Milligan, the South East regional co-ordinator at the Lawn Tennis Association.
During his career he coached seven British junior number-one players. Sussex player Clare Wood went on to become British number-one and Julie Salmon and Sara Gomer, both reached the top three in Britain. He was also a national trainer responsible for the best under-12 boys in the country - A 10-year-old Tim Henman was in that group.Even as a player he was dedicated to coaching.
After his last match at Wimbledon in 1973 on court six, Clay rushed on the train to Eastbourne where the following morning he was coaching at Devonshire Park.Clay now coaches children and adults at the David Lloyd Club in Eastbourne and Meads Lawn Tennis Club.Luciano Cestari, head tennis pro at David Lloyd, said, "It's a privilege to work alongside Clay. I've picked up many coaching tips when I'm on the court next to him."
Johanna Konta beats Venus Williams in first WTA final to win Stanford Classic
British No.1 Johanna Konta scored an impressive victory on her first appearance in a WTA final to beat Venus Williams 7-5, 5-7, 6-2 in the Stanford Classic in Califormia.
Konta, the first British woman to win this title since Sue Barker in 1977, played with accuracy and aggression to hustle the former Wimbledon champion out of her stride in the first set and, despite a dip in form in the second, she recovered well in the third.
2016 Season kicks off with Pizza!
We all met up on Monday 22nd February to kick off the 2016 season in festive style! Needless to say, we will burn off the calories gained from the lovely Italian cuisine on court for the new season starting Saturday 23rd April 2016, we look forward to seeing you there!
Johanna Konta reaches Semi-Finals
Everyone at Devonshire Park would lke to congratulate Johanna Konta on her superb performance at this years Australian Open to reach the semi-finals.
Australian Open 2016
Round 1 (Win) vs Venus Williams 6-4, 6-2
Round 2 (Win) vs Saisai Zheng 6-2, 6-3
Round 3 (Win) vs Denisa Allertova 6-2, 6-2
Round 4 (Win) vs Ekaterina Makarova 4-6, 6-4, 8-6
Quarter-finals (Win) vs Shuai Zhang 6-4, 6-1
Semi-finals (Loss) vs Angelique Kerber 7-5, 6-2
Devonshire Park would like to wish Johanna every success for 2016.
Howard Celebrates 40 Years as a Devonshire Park Member
How time flies, it only seems like yesterday that Howard joined the club as a leading junior.
40 years on, we are honored and privileged to have had his input over the various stages of the clubs growth.
Thanks Howard for all your support and we look forward to seeing you on court for MANY more years to come!
Devonshire Park invited to play at Wimbledon
To thank Devonshire Park for many years of supporting grass court tennis. The All England Club invited us (along with 3 others) to a day tournament at the prestigious Wimbledon. The day was unforgettable as well as magical!
A BIG thank you to David Mackay and Ken Pollock for arranging this 'once in a lifetime' event.
End Of Season
Thank you for your support this season, the courts are now closed for the winter period but we'll update you here as and when we have news of forthcoming events.
We'll be updating you in weeks to come about our Christmas social.
How has Eastbourne become a major part of the tennis calendar?
In the week before Wimbledon, many of the world's best tennis players are eager to get some last minute competitive practice. But how has the quiet Sussex coastal town of Eastbourne become the place so many of them go to get it?
Eastbourne has a population of about 100,000 people and is famous for the cliffs of Beachy Head, its sunny weather and high levels of retired people. But for the past four decades it has hosted one of the world's most important grass court tennis tournaments.
The women's championship, first held in 1974, is rated as a "premier" tournament. Other WTA competitions with the same status are held in Sydney, Paris, Dubai, Tokyo and Moscow - all places with a slightly higher world profile than Eastbourne, however attractive the floral arrangements on its seafront may be.
The venue's intimate nature has always given fans the chance to be close to stars such as Ana Ivanovic, who says it is one of the players' favourite tournaments because of the "impeccable grass courts"
Devonshire Park club chairman Ken Pollock says he calls Eastbourne "Tennis Town"
Among the famous names who have held trophies aloft by the seaside are Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Virginia Wade, Justine Henin, Kim Clijsters, Andy Roddick, Lindsay Davenport, Monica Seles, Caroline Wozniacki and current Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli.
Ken Pollock, chairman of the Devonshire Park Lawn Tennis Club, where the tournament is played, said: "It's an important venue because of the quality of the grass courts, the weather - it's known as the sunshine coast - and there's ample hotel accommodation.
"I go out to schools to talk about the tournament and I bill it as the "tennis town". There's nothing else like it in the country.
"Eastbourne stands alone - there isn't another town which is just famous for its tennis. It marks it out as quite a remarkable place."
British number three Johanna Konta lives in Eastbourne but says players from further afield love coming to her home town too - partly because it is a good tournament for fans to get close to the action.
British number three Johanna Konta, who lives in Eastbourne and is ranked 110th in the world, said "Obviously for me it's more special than for most of the players - it's one of the few chances I get to sleep in my own bed and eat my mum's cooking.
"But other players find it a very nice tournament and that's why there are always some of the world's top players taking part, and why they keep coming back."
Of course, Eastbourne is not the only small English town to host a major sporting event. The Derby is held in Epsom, the Open golf visits locations as obscure as Hoylake and Sandwich and Formula 1's British Grand Prix is held in Silverstone - population 2,176.
But horse racing, golf and motor racing each have to be played in huge areas, meaning they are by nature more likely to be away from urban sprawl, unlike tennis - whose most famous homes are the grand slam venues of London, Paris, New York and Melbourne.
"There are more glamorous locations on tour, but everyone seems to love a seaside resort and Eastbourne remains popular - despite the chilly wind that can blow through Devonshire Park on occasions," says Russell Fuller, the BBC's tennis correspondent.
"After up to a fortnight in Paris, and ahead of two weeks at Wimbledon, Eastbourne provides a pleasant respite to city life.
"Fewer of the very top seeds opt to play a grass court warm up event these days, but it looks as if a healthy number of top 10 players will be in attendance once again."
Although the tournament in its current format dates back 40 years, tennis has been played at the venue for far longer.
Mr Pollock said the park opened on 1 July 1874 and he thinks the first championships was held there in 1881, with the tennis club starting about the same sort of time.
"The current tournament came out of the South of England Lawn Tennis Championship, which was held down here in Eastbourne," he said.
"The likes of Fred Perry and Rene Lacoste and co would have taken part - it was quite a prestigious tournament."
The tournament has always attracted many of the world's top players. This year's event will see five of the women's top 10 players in action - previous winner, world number four and former Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska is top seed.
Victoria Azarenka, twice Australian Open winner, is making her comeback from injury at Eastbourne and 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, ranked sixth in the world, is also playing, along with seventh and ninth-ranked Jelena Jankovic and Angelique Kerber.
Top seed in the men's tournament is world number 14 Richard Gasquet, a former semi-finalist at Wimbledon and the US Open.
Martina Navratilova, the most successful female player of all time, lifted the trophy in Eastbourne 11 times.
Navratilova became so closely associated with the town she was awarded the freedom of Eastbourne in 2005, when she said: "I am deeply moved by such genuine kindness... and now I truly feel I am a part of such a noble community.
"The appreciation is mutual. I appreciate Eastbourne, Eastbourne appreciates me and it's nice when it's symbiotic like that, it kind of makes you feel good."
She said the players walked around among the fans, who could also watch the top stars practise.
"It's all right there, it's not so spread out. The players can interact with the fans and the kids and that's what it should be."
Darren Weir, chairman of the Eastbourne Hospitality Association, said the tournament was a crucial event in the town's calendar.
"We all have guests that specifically stay for the tournament - my guest house is always full with spectators, and some of them have been coming for 20 years and book a year in advance.
"We also have to accommodate all the support staff, the catering workers, and the bigger hotels - the four and five star hotels - host the players and their entourages, if they have any. The LTA (Lawn Tennis Association) tends to pick a hotel for the players.
"If you look around all the restaurants and bars benefit from it and shops fill their window display with tennis things - the town gets a tennis buzz."
After the recent annual scheduling meeting with EBC it has been agreed that the courts will be available for play starting Good Friday 18th April.
Subscription Fees Remain Frozen
The 2014 club subscriptions have remained the same as 2011, 2012 and 2013. This has been due to the committee policy of using monies gained from our annual DPLTC Open Tournament to subsidise subscriptions.
Open Day & BBQ for the family
We will have our usual Open/Family days on both Friday 18th and Saturday 19th April when drinks and BBQ will be on offer.
Our chef Mordaunt will be taking his usual place amongst the briquettes and we look forward, once more, to a very enjoyable start to the season. The BBQs begin at 12 noon.
On June 16 the Aegon International Legends event will take place at Devonshire Park. On Tuesday former British No.1, Greg Rusedski, launched the event in Brighton, by handing out tubs of strawberries and cream to startled passers-by to get them in the summer mood.
Rusedski will be making his return to the court this summer as he takes on Australian Mark Philippoussis in a Legends exhibition singles match at the Aegon International in Eastbourne.
Rusedski and Philippoussis will rekindle their competitive flame in the singles before partnering up with former World No.1 and Wimbledon Champion Lindsay Davenport and two-time Wimbledon Doubles Champion Rennae Stubbs in a mixed doubles match.
The four tennis greats will be squaring off at Devonshire Park on Father's Day, Sunday June 16, during a packed week of action at the event, which takes place from 15-22 of June.
Rusedski said: "I've always enjoyed playing on grass and the Devonshire Park courts are always immaculate. The Aegon International is a fantastic event to be a part of so I'm looking forward to dusting off my racket."
Tickets for the Legends match are £18 for adults and £5 for juniors - these will apply to Centre Court seats but will also give access to Court 1 and the grounds.
With the success of the Family Day in 2012, entry will once again be free to all spectators on Saturday 15 June with tickets available on a first come, first served basis on the day.