After the disappointing cancellation last year of Rye LTC’s 93rd Annual Invitation Tournament, the Club was very pleased to be able to welcome back competitors in 2021, for a tournament run under LTA guidelines.
The weather was not very kind, however, to the 275 players who took to the Club’s superb grass courts from Friday 30th July to Monday 2nd August. On the opening day, the competitors not only found themselves battling against each other but were also severely tested by ferocious winds and squally showers, which left them scuttling for cover. With sporadic downpours over the weekend as well, thanks must go to referees Chris Gorringe and Jonathan Jempson for bringing the tournament to a successful close, with all the finals completed by early Monday evening.
The standard of tennis was extremely high throughout. In the men’s singles final, top Queen’s Club player Matt Brooklyn took on seventeen-year-old Thomas Drayton, who plans to move from the junior circuit to the senior tour in September. With some fierce rallying from both sides and great tactical play, Brooklyn’s experience won the day – but not without some determined opposition from the talented teenager.
The ladies’ singles final saw Marine Beugre-Guyot, from France, a 2019 Rye ladies’ doubles winner, pitted against Croatian former ITF player Iva Saric, racquets manager at the Chelsea Harbour Club. Having come through a very tight semi-final against the 2017 and 2019 Rye ladies’ champion Victoria Brook, winning by just a few points in the tie-break, Beugre-Guyot again found herself in a tense tie-break against Saric, who just managed to pull ahead to take the title.
The ladies’ doubles final was also a closely contested match, as Victoria Brook and fellow Surrey County player Natalie Haden-Scott took on Marine Beugre-Guyot and her fellow Chandos LTC member Eva Giannopoulou. After some hard-hitting exchanges, Brook and Haden-Scott (above on the left with Club chairman Jonathan Jempson) just got their noses in front in the tie-break to win the title which had eluded them by the closest of margins in 2019.
In the men’s doubles final, Queen’s champions Matt Brooklyn and David Scales faced Worcester’s Charlie Crisp playing alongside 2013 and 2015 Rye men’s singles champion Jonathan Tassell (below left). After some fearsome ground strokes and quick-fire net play, the Queen’s pair (on the left below) gained the upper hand and took the match.
The mixed doubles saw Andrew Quirk and Alice Keddie pitted against Henry Moore and Muriel Wacker, all Camden Hill LTC players, with Moore and Wacker coming through 7-5, 6-2.
The B groups and Handicap sections also witnessed an exceptionally high standard of play, with some very competitive matches and wins for Rye LTC members Claire Myatt in the ladies’ singles, Freddie Whitfield in the men’s singles and David Wallis alongside coach Richard Pratt in the men’s doubles