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AEGON International Tennis at Eastbourne

PUBLISHED: 13:31 01 June 2012 | UPDATED: 21:27 20 February 2013

AEGON International Tennis at Eastbourne

AEGON International Tennis at Eastbourne

It's tennis time again in Eastbourne as the AEGON International brings the world's stars to the town. Here we preview this year's action...


EASTBOURNE becomes the focus of the tennis world once again this summer as the spotlight shines on the sports leading lights at Devonshire Park.


The town has always attracted marquee names to play in the event, from British heroines like Virginia Wade a winner in 1975 to ten-time winner Martina Navratilova, to legends of the modern day game like Lindsay Davenport and Justine Henin while Williams sisters, Venus and Serena, took to the courts last year.


And the 2012 edition of the AEGON International, taking place between 16-23 June, looks set to be no different as Devonshire Park welcomes the world to its doorstep.


Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki, a former Eastbourne champion, returns to the south coast this year, as does Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova who came so close to winning the title last year.


The Czech Republic ace was beaten by Frances Marion Bartoli on that occasion, but with an impressive history on grass, Kvitova is sure to be in the running.


Former French Open champion Ana Ivanovic has also announced her participation while Polish world No.3 Agnieszka Radwanska and world No.10 Vera Zvonareva from Russia are the other headline players in a world class field in Eastbourne.


Ivanovic, who will appear at the event for the third time, said: "Eastbourne is a charming tournament and its one of the most competitive on the Tour the field there is always strong.


"I enjoy competing at Eastbourne for a number of reasons, one of them is the facilities. The grass is beautiful, and now that I have a British coach (Nigel Sears), I appreciate this tournament even more."


In the mens draw, Frances Richard Gasquet is the highest ranked player in the draw while Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis and Germanys Philipp Kohlschreiber will also be in action.


Baghdatis said: "Im very much looking forward to coming to Eastbourne and competing in the AEGON International this year.


"Ive always loved playing tennis on the grass and Im told the courts at Devonshire Park are up there with the best in the country, so should serve me well going into Wimbledon."


Australian teenager Bernard Tomic, who reached the quarter-finals at The Championships, Wimbledon, last year has also signed up for the week-long tournament.


Tournament director Gavin Fletcher said: "The standard at the AEGON International has always been very high and this year will be no different.


"Both draws look really strong and Im sure they will deliver some world class tennis which the public of Eastbourne and the surrounding areas can enjoy.


"Fans travel from all over the country to see the AEGON International and Im sure theyll be served up some quality tennis again this year."


And while some of the sports biggest names hone their skills ahead of The Championships at Wimbledon, there will also be some familiar names from yesteryear gracing the grass courts.


Former British number on Greg Rusedski, a firm crown favourite in his playing days, will be dusting off his racket and returning to court to take part in a day of special legends matches, scheduled for Fathers Day on Sunday June 17.


Rusedski has swapped his playing days for a successful coaching career in recent years leading Great Britains most promising youngsters to junior Davis Cup triumph in 2011.


But he will be renewing old rivalries with Australian big hitter Mark Philippoussis in a singles match before they partner up with former Wimbledon ladies champions Conchita Martinez and Martina Hingis for a mixed doubles matchup.


Rusedski said: "Mark is a great player and weve had some really good matches in the past, particularly on grass at Wimbledon and at the AEGON Championships at Queens Club.


"Ive always enjoyed playing on grass and Im looking forward to trying out the Devonshire Park courts. The AEGON International is always a fantastic event and Im glad to be part of it."


A bumper crowd is expected once again at the AEGON International not least because the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) who run the event, are giving fans a glimpse of the action for free.


Entry to the grounds on the opening day of the tournament, Saturday June 16, will be free of charge while centre court and court one will also have unreserved seating.


The AEGON International runs from Saturday June 16 to Saturday June 23 at Devonshire Park, Eastbourne. For ticket information visit: www.aegoninternational.co.uk/tickets or call the box office on 0844 581 3015.


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