Champions of Tennis suppliers left out of pocket

The Champions of Tennis tournament had to be cancelled when organisers were unable to erect the roof. Picture: Ian Rutherford
The Champions of Tennis tournament had to be cancelled when organisers were unable to erect the roof. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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SUPPLIERS to a major tennis tournament that collapsed when its organisers went bust have told how they have been left thousands of pounds out of pocket.

The four-day Champions of Tennis had been due to start last Thursday in Stockbridge with legends such as John McEnroe and Tim Henman topping the bill.

But it was called off at the 11th hour with organisers blaming their inability to erect a roof – a year after the inaugural event was ruined by rain.

As hundreds of fans tried to claim refunds in the aftermath of the fiasco – which saw the company behind the event plunge into administration – business owners were today counting the cost.

Sports retailer Brian Gannon estimated that his losses would “run into the thousands”, but insisted he was more disappointed about the damage to Scotland’s reputation and its ability to host similar events in the future.

His company Gannon Sports had made hundreds of uniforms for volunteers and match officials, had been tasked with re-stringing rackets for the players and had plans to sell merchandise.

He said: “Some small retailers have invested a huge amount of money, and have probably lost a lot. What surprised me was the quickness of the cancellation and the lack of warning.

“Certainly, the biggest loser is tennis in Scotland, and the viewing public. It’s damaged my business, it’s damaged tennis.”

Organisers would have to “put their money where their mouth is”, he said, and give greater assurances before he would support a similar event again.

Kenny Abbot, founder and managing director of Total Padel – a cross between squash and tennis – had been hoping to use the championship as a springboard for the burgeoning sport.

Mr Abbot, who had assembled a padel court in Stockbridge, said: “I think the cancellation is going to have a detrimental affect on how the wider world views Scotland as a viable sporting venue.”

Sponsors and suppliers will now have to deal with administrators French Duncan to recoup their cash after organisers Serve and Volley Ltd, based in the city, went into voluntary administration.

Tournament director Viki Mendelssohn said that “a number” of firms had been left out of pocket and insisted there was no choice but to pull the plug on the event, which was not insured for open-air tennis.

She said: “We had to make a very difficult decision as we could not take the risk and rely on it not raining.”

john.connell@edinburghnews.com