SCOTLAND’S premier tennis tournament is set to unveil a new futuristic roof to prevent a repeat of last year’s wash-out that resulted in hours of lost play across the four-day event.
The new “stingray” design at the Brodies Champions of Tennis event boasts rainproof wings extending far beyond the court to ensure matches between stars such as three-time Wimbledon champion John McEnroe, Goran Ivanisevic and Tim Henman will not be abandoned.
“Sideways” showers were blamed for disrupting the debut tournament last August, despite organisers’ claims of a bespoke canopy “ensuring that rain would not stop play”.
Spectators who paid up to £100 for matches at the Raeburn Place venue had threatened legal action after being refused a refund because organisers said no compensation would be paid if there was more than 40 minutes of play.
Despite long spells of inaction, an independent assessment commissioned by EventScotland found more than 90 per cent of spectators interviewed had rated their visit to the tournament as either “good” or “very good”.
More than 10,000 people attended the event.
Today, tournament director Viki Mendelssohn said the new roof design would offer the court greater protection and assured tennis fans that refunds would be paid if there was less than one hour of continuous play.
She said: “We all know there can be no guarantee of sunshine, so we’ve done our best to reduce the risk of any weather-related problems.
“Our court roof design has been updated to provide added protection against the elements, while our updated ticketing conditions will ensure that spectators who don’t get to see at least an hour of continuous play will be fully refunded.
She added: “Brodies Champions of Tennis is returning to Edinburgh this year better than ever. We’re delighted to have such a fantastic line-up of tennis stars and are looking forward to building on the successes of last year’s event.”
Part of the ATP Champions Tour, Brodies Champions of Tennis boasts some of the greatest players ever to grace the tennis court including Mark Philippoussis, Wayne Ferreira, Fabrice Santoro, Henri Leconte, Thomas Enqvist and Mansour Bahrami.
Jan Felgate, head of the ATP Champions Tour, welcomed the investment of a new roof to mitigate against the “vagaries of the Scottish weather”.
She said: “We are all very much looking forward to coming back to Edinburgh and the players are especially looking forward to returning. We hope that the fans will turn out again and support some of the legends of the game, and enjoy seeing some of the fantastic Scottish juniors that are also taking part.”
A Tennis Scotland spokesman said: “It’s great that people can see some top-quality tennis on their doorstep. Hopefully the weather will be great this year and there will be no need for the roof.”
Brodies Champions of Tennis runs from June 19 to 22.