The first tournament was held in 1923 and was known as the Sandilands and Sutton-on-Sea Tennis Tournament. In those days the August Bank Holiday was always on the first Monday in August and families and their house guests from Grimsby, Nottingham and Leicester would meet over that weekend and play tennis against each other.
What began as family tennis parties quickly developed into a tournament with County players taking part. A founder member and organiser of that tournament was the late Mr Coote Green from Grimsby. One of the attractions of Sandilands is its apparent immunity to change, but even Sandilands could not ignore the outbreak of the second world war in 1939 and the tournament that year was the last for almost 20 years.
The tournament was revived by Richard Bellamy and Henry Taylor. The president of the re-establised tournament was the late Jack Phillips. The tournament has always been fortunate in being able to rely on the generosity and hospitality of private court owners and local authorities in Sutton and Mablethorpe for the use of their courts.
In addition the Grange and Links Hotel constructed 2 hard courts in 1981 making the tournament secretary's job easier and also led to the establishment of the Spring and August Bank Holiday mixed doubles tournaments. Over the years the tournament committee has been well served by its members who have given freely of their time to ensure that Tennis Week retains an important position in Lincolnshires' sporting and social calendar.
In the autumn of 2018 The Grange and Links Hotel and the Golf Club both closed within a matter of weeks of each other. Undeniably the loss of the former together with its 3 courts was felt by competitors and organisers alike but Tennis Week still proved very popular and everyone was determined to make the 2019 tournament a success as indeed it was. However, following government guidelines concerning Covid -19 there was no tournament in 2020. Tennis Week became Sandilands Week and many enjoyed the few days even without tennis.
However in 2021 a record number of entrants were determined to put the disappointment of the previous year behind them and some excellent tennis was played and enjoyed.
2023 will be a huge milestone in the history of Tennis Week for it marks the centenary of the first tournament and the 65th anniversary of the initial post-war tournament.
To celebrate the occasion it is planned to hold a special Lunch on Sunday, 6th August 2023 and a Ball at the end of the week on Friday, 11th August. Details will be available nearer the time.
To mark 2023 still further, the Tournament’s President, Mike Garrs, is writing a book called “ Everyone for Tennis! “ about the history of Tennis Week. Mike would welcome memories and reminiscences (printable ones please!) of the Tournament and would be delighted to receive contributions. He can be contacted at email@example.com. The book should be published by early 2023 and if you feel that would consider purchasing a copy please let Mike know.