Tim Henman welcomes expansion of ATP Champions Tour to include Edinburgh

Former Wimbledon semi-finalist and world No. 4 Tim Henman today welcomed the expansion of the ATP Champions tennis tour to include a stop in Edinburgh next June 19-22, writes BILL LOTHIAN.

Stars of yesteryear are being lined-up to appear in the Capital and, while no announcement as to the personnel is expected until the Autumn, Henman is familiar with the Edinburgh tennis scene from junior playing days at Craiglockhart and

and knows the interest that is liable to be created by an event featuring household names.

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Henman said: “The ATP Champions Tour is a fantastic way for us to continue to play the sport we love and relive old rivalries.

“You never lose that competitive instinct and we all still want to win, whether it’s on the court, the golf course or anything else.

“At the same time, it is much more relaxed now – we have a laugh and a joke with each other on the court and interact with the crowd much more than we did in our regular tour careers.

“The crowds on the

Champions Tour have been great wherever we have gone. They love tennis and it’s a pleasure to play in front of them.”

Henman’s endorsement is echoed by David Law, BBC tennis commentator and ATP Champions Tour media director.

He said: “Placing the Edinburgh event immediately before Wimbledon is a very smart move given that many of those who regularly appear will be in the country.

“In recent years the Champions Tour’s worldwide stops have included Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland so I have no doubt that it will be a success in Scotland as well.”

• Edinburgh Castle Esplanade is not a contender to host the ATP Champions Tour in the Capital next June, according to the event organiser.

Vikki Mendelssohn, of Big Blue PR, Sponsorship and Event Management, said: “It will be an outdoor event but with a cover over the court. We will be pioneering this type of venue and want to do it every year. It is not planned as a one-off.”

Asked about suggestions that a site in Inverleith Park had already been earmarked, she said: “It is by no means the only option.”