Council wants probe into failed tennis tournament

Goran Ivanisevic starred at the tournament. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Goran Ivanisevic starred at the tournament. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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Council officials have ordered a report into a trouble-hit tennis tournament, with efforts under way to save the sporting fixture from potentially being abandoned.

The city’s culture and sport committee has called for a review of the Champions of Tennis tournament, which is facing the threat of legal action from fans who paid up to £100 for matches, some of which were washed out by rain.

Edinburgh City Council, in conjunction with EventScotland, contributed £100,000 in sponsorship to the inaugural Stockbridge event that featured former Wimbledon champions John McEnroe and Goran Ivanisevic.

A report was ordered on Tuesday, with councillors keen to remedy problems which involved a purpose-built roof at the event failing to keep the court dry and forcing play to be halted for almost four hours.

Disgruntled ticket holders have been told they will not get their cash back despite the tournament in June being billed as an all-weather event. Representatives of the sport committee have agreed to meet with tournament organisers.

Committee member Councillor Jeremy Balfour, who first asked for the report to be prepared, said: “In principle, this is a really good event and something that Edinburgh needs. It adds to our cultural and sporting programme. I’m very much in favour of trying to support it to continue for the next two or three years and to see where we are after that.

“My concern is in regard to just making sure the facilities are suitable for the Edinburgh weather conditions.”

Organisers of the legends’ tournament originally said they wanted the contest to become a permanent annual fixture.

Tournament director Viki Mendelssohn said she would be happy to meet with council chiefs.

She did not guarantee the tournament would return in 2014, but said: “I want the event to happen year on year like other ATP championship events.”

Tennis Scotland provided advice to organisers in the lead-up to this year’s event. A spokesman said: “We want to encourage more people to play tennis more often and there’s no doubt that appearances in Scotland by the likes of 
McEnroe will go some way towards encouraging people to pick up a racquet.”