Konta walks on the wild side

Jo Konta
Jo Konta

Eastbourne tennis player Jo Konta aims to produce her best tennis on home soil after her wild card entry to the AEGON International was confirmed on Thursday.

Konta, 23, is eager to continue her grass court preparations following her second round exit to Aleksandra Wozniack at the AEGON Classic in Birmingham on Wednesday.

The British No.3 said, “I really want to compete at Eastbourne. It’s my home tournament and I’m delighted to get the wild card.

“Eastbounre is such a great event and it’s also a rare chance for me to sleep in my bed during a tournament.”

“I’m really excited about playing in front of my home town crowd again,” she said. “This wild card is a tremendous opportunity for me to get some more grass court wins under my belt and hopefully I’ll have some great results.”

British No.1 Heather Watson also received a wild card. Watson made a huge splash in her first appearance at the Aegon International in 2010 when, ranked No.344 in the world, she won through three rounds of qualifying before falling to Victoria Azarenka in the second round.

The world No.69 said she was looking forward to playing her fifth-straight Aegon International. “I always love playing in Eastbourne, the courts are second-to-none so it’s the perfect event to hone my grass court game.”

Watson and Konta join a host of top players competing at the Aegon International including top seed Victoria Azarenka, Agnieszka Radwanska Petra Kvitova and Jelena Jankovic. Former world No.1 Victoria Azarenka completes a formidable list of top players who will be battling for grass court honours where she was a finalist in 2010.

Belarusian Azarenka, back on the tour after injury, said she is excited to make her return at the prestigious Aegon International which celebrates its 40th anniversary this summer. I’ve worked hard to rehabilitate my injury and to get fit for my return,”

“I’ve played at Eastbourne three times and always enjoyed it. The grass courts are world class.”

Gavin Fletcher, Tournament Director at the Aegon International, said, “It’s fantastic that Victoria Azarenka will make her make her return to the tour, and to Devonshire Park on the 40th anniversary of the tournament.

“Once again the event has attracted an incredible line-up with five players in the world’s top 10 and ten of the world’s top 20 competing including world No.4 Agnieszka Radwanska, world No.6 and former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, and former world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki.” In the men’s draw, the final time the men compete at Eastbourne, France’s Richard Gasquet and Gilles Simon could be the ones to watch. Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov is expected to be a threat, as is defending champion Feliciano Lopez. Andreas Seppi of Italy is a former winner and always tends to go deep into the draw at Devonshire Park.

Tickets to the Aegon International are on sale now. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit www.aegoninternational.co.uk

Saturday is Family Day at the AEGON International. Entry is free including court one and centre court - See ticket office on arrival.