Champions of Tennis wash out: fans denied refunds

Drenched tennis fans at Inverleith. Picture: Jane Barlow

Drenched tennis fans at Inverleith. Picture: Jane Barlow

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TENNIS fans have fired a volley at organisers of a legends event that was almost completely washed out by rain after they were denied refunds.

Spectators paid up to £100 a ticket to watch the likes of Wimbledon champions John McEnroe and Goran Ivanisevic at the Brodies Champions of Tennis tournament in Stockbridge.

But on Saturday, June 22, play was halted for almost four hours after a purpose-built £100,000 roof failed to keep the court dry.

Now, almost two months later, organisers Serve & Volley Ltd, which co-funded the three-day event with the city council and EventScotland, have told fans they won’t get their cash back.

In an e-mail to disgruntled ticket holders, tournament director Viki Mendelssohn said she shared their “frustration” but under the terms and conditions of the ticket, “refunds would only be issued if less than 40 minutes of play took place”.

She added: “We were able to put on just under two hours of play on Saturday. Whilst it was disappointing only two hours of tennis were played, disruption due to bad weather is a risk at any outdoor event. We assure you that lessons have been learnt.”

Bringing the tournament, which also featured Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski, to Edinburgh Academicals’ rugby ground at Raeburn Place won plaudits, and bosses hope it will return next summer.

But city chiefs have warned organisers must get it right second time round.

Rick Loup, who paid £240 for three tickets for his wife, ten-year-old daughter and himself, today branded the organisers “unrepentant rascals”.

He said: “For them to claim there was two hours of play is laughable. I think their response is particularly hard-nosed and lacking in any customer focus. Surely they should make some concession or offer as a gesture of goodwill, especially given their plans to stage a similar event next year.”

Another fan, Adrian Dillon, said: “I am looking into suing the tournament organisers.”

Colin Skeldon, another ticket holder, said: “Whoever decided that a canopy was appropriate for an outdoor event in Scotland in June was seriously misguided and the organisation who sanctioned this decision should be held ­accountable.”

Wiltshire-based Airsculpt, which designed the structure, said in June it had warned organisers the roof would not withstand “sideways rain”. Ms Mendelssohn refused to rule out offering cut-price tickets to upset fans if the tournament returns to Edinburgh, saying the “issue will be revisited” if it goes ahead.

A council spokesman said: “The level of disruption caused by the weather was extremely disappointing and it is important that the event organisers learn from this.”