Labour of love for local tennis legend who has written a book celebrating 100 years of the UK’s biggest tournament

Local tennis legend Ashley Martin has written a book celebrating the centenary of the Hunstanton Lawn Tennis Tournament.

Sunday, 18th July 2021, 12:00 pm
Ashley Martin with his book on the Hunstanton tennis tournament.

‘Wimbledon-on-Sea: 100 years of the Hunstanton Lawn Tennis Tournament’ is now on sale and available to order online at just £7.99 per copy (including postage and packing). The book can be ordered via the Tournament’s official website at: https://www.hunstantonltt.co.uk/centenary-book/

Detailing how ‘Sunny Hunny’ started and subsequently became an ‘open’ event, the 156-page book outlines its expansion over the years into what is now the largest tennis tournament in the UK - and possibly the world - annually attracting around 1,300 competitors from under 10s to over 65s.

The book records the early days of the Tournament, features anecdotes from newspaper cuttings over the years, memories from players past and present and also details all the winners of the five prestigious ‘open’ events - men’s and ladies singles, men’s and ladies doubles and mixed doubles - from 1923 when first sanctioned by the Lawn Tennis Association until 2019.

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The book also identifies the most successful players in terms of number of ‘open’ titles won in the history of the Tournament.

Unfortunately the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic meant the Tournament was cancelled in 2020. Furthermore, the 2021 event, which was scheduled to be held from August 15-21, has also been cancelled due to continuing Covid-19 uncertainty.

Tournament secretary Chris Holt who has been involved in the Tournament for almost 50 years, said: “It is with great sadness that we took the decision to cancel this year’s Tournament, but we felt it was the correct decision for many reasons not least due to regard for the health and safety of competitors, spectators and the residents of Hunstanton and the surrounding villages.

“Sadly, the pandemic coincided with the Tournament’s centenary. Nevertheless, we have taken the decision to publish this very special book and sell it online via the Tournament’s website.

“For everyone who loves the Tournament and has played in it or spectated over the years, the book is essential reading and will bring to life to life dim and distant memories of what has become ‘little Wimbledon’.”

The event was dubbed the ‘Glastonbury of Tennis’ by the Lawn Tennis Association when named the organisation’s Competition of the Year in 2020 based on 2019 events.

Author Martin (60), a retired career journlaist, said: “From beginners to future Wimbledon champions [Ann Jones (nee Haydon) played in the Tournament in 1955 and won the ladies’ singles at Wimbledon in 1969], the Hunstanton Lawn Tennis Tournament has attracted all-comers over 100 years and remains a unique fixture in Britain’s summer sporting calendar. For me researching and writing the book has been a labour of love.”

Everyone who buys the book will be supporting the Tournament’s future as all proceeds from sales go towards the cost of staging the annual August event.

To order a copy of ‘Wimbledon-on-Sea: 100 years of the Hunstanton Lawn Tennis Tournament’ go to https://www.hunstantonltt.co.uk/centenary-book/.

The 2022 Hunstanton Lawn Tennis Tournament is due to take place on the town’s Recreation Ground from August 14 to August 20 when it is hoped the previously postponed centenary celebrations will be held.