Eastbourne’s Johanna Konta (GBR) makes her return to Devonshire Park on Tuesday, headlining a star-studded line-up that also features two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova (CZE), former world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki (DEN), tournament top seed Agnieszka Radwanska (POL), defending champion Belinda Bencic (SUI) and former champions Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) and Elena Vesnina (RUS).
Konta’s career-high No.18 world ranking earned her direct entry into the Eastbourne draw for the first time this year, and the British No.1 said she’s looking forward to playing in front of her home crowd.
“Not many players can say they have a hometown event,” said Konta. “There are tournaments in your own country, but very few players, not just tennis players but athletes in general, can really stay at home and compete in one of their biggest events in their calendar. I get to play at one of the best events in the lead-up to a Slam. So I feel very lucky.” Konta will take on the winner of Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) and Shuai Zhang (CHN) the fourth match on Centre Court.
Tournament top seed Radwanska is scheduled to play the winner of Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO) and Denisa Allertova (CZE) in the third match on Centre Court on Tuesday. The Polish world No.3 was looking forward to making her tenth appearance at Eastbourne.
“I play at Eastbourne every single year, I really like the tournament,” said Radwanska, champion in 2008. “I think it’s a quiet place to have a really good practice, good preparation before Wimbledon. It’s the best preparation for Wimbledon because the courts are great and everything is so close so I’m always happy to be here and play here.”
Kvitova opens proceedings on Centre Court, taking on Timea Babos (HUN) with play scheduled to start at 11am. That match will be followed by the clash between Wozniacki and Samantha Stosur (AUS), with Makarova (a 7-5 6-4 winner over Tara Moore[GBR]) facing No.2 seed Roberta Vinci (ITA) in the second match on No.1 court, and Vesnina (a 6-2 6-3 winner over Heather Watson [GBR]) and Bencic facing off in the battle of the former champions in the fourth match on No.1 court.
The International Junior Competition kicks off on Monday with some of the world’s best U18 girls from Great Britain, USA, France and Australia battling it out in a challenge between the four Grand Slam nations. The competition incorporates the Maureen Connolly trophy, which has been contested annually between Great Britain and USA since 1973. The competition is a fantastic opportunity for tennis fans to watch the rising stars of world tennis battling it out on the outside courts at Devonshire Park.