AN international tennis tournament has pledged its future to a Sussex town following a £44 million investment.

The Aegon International tennis tournament will remain in Eastbourne until at least until 2026, which will pump millions into the local economy.

It comes after the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) yesterday officially announced the £44 million redevelopment of Devonshire Park alongside Eastbourne Borough Council.

Eastbourne tennis star and world number 18, Johanna Konta, said the project will boost the tournament and attract more big names to the grass courts.

Speaking on the first day of the tournament, she said: "I think the investment that's been made into the event will really just maybe catapult them all to the forefront of everybody's desire to come here that much more.

"It will be a state-of-the-art facility and lot of tournaments are striving to get to that point.

"I believe the tournament is very much keeping with the times and really also giving back to the people that make it what it is: the fans."

The £44 million investment will see a new show court, new practice courts, changing rooms, medical and media facilities.

From next year as well as hosting the long-standing women's WTA Premier event there will be the men's ATP World Tour 250 tournament at the same time.

Council Leader David Tutt hailed the new deal as a huge boost for the town.

He said: "We will be investing in new irrigation across all the grass courts in preparation for improving and extending the court layout.

"We are creating a new show court near to the main entrance and we are developing new practice courts at Moira House School.

"Eastbourne will also be working with the LTA to develop a bid to the Discover England Fund run by VisitEngland and VisitBritain and of course we have an ongoing commitment to community tennis offering free court opportunities to all Eastbourne residents."

Michael Downey, LTA chief executive, said: "We are thrilled by Eastbourne Borough Council’s substantial investment into Devonshire Park to keep this iconic venue as one of the very best in the country.

"We are also delighted to enter into a brand-new ten-year hosting agreement with the site ensuring that world class women’s and men’s tennis will be here at least until 2026, guaranteeing our loyal fans the best possible entertainment experience."