Johanna Konta, Naomi Broady and Harriet Dart will get a taste of the clamour for top class tennis and the glamour of playing in the pre-Wimbledon tournament at Eastbourne after been awarded wildcards into the main draw.
It is familiar territory for Eastbourne-based Konta and Stockport’s Broady, while 18-year-old world #354 Dart from London will be thrown into the cauldron at Devonshire Park.
With former British #1 Laura Robson preferring to get some competitive games under her belt following a 17-month layoff from the WTA Tour due to wrist injuries, Dart has been given a glorious chance to shine on the sunny south coast.
Dart flopped in this month’s ITF tournament at Devonshire Park, thrashed by China’s qualifier Wang Qiang, and failed to win her Qualifying match on grass at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham.
Stockport’s Broady, the world #208, also played in June’s IFT in Eastbourne but won just a single match before bowing out to France’s Oceane Dodin on a third set tiebreak. Was unable to negotiate past the Qualifying at the 2015 French Open and 2014 Aegon International, so is not expected to win a match having lost all four Qualifying matches at Eastbourne’s premier tournament.
But Konta, who joins British #1 Heather Watson in the main draw, is a different prospect and has produced a set of impressive results on grass leading up to the Aegon International.
She registered victories over two top 100 players to race into the Nottingham Open quarter-finals before running out of steam, and came close to toppling Czech ace Karolina Pliskova at the Aegon Classic.
Konta, who savours playing at Devonshire Park, said: “Eastbourne’s my home and is a special experience that not many players get, a tournament on your doorstep – I love playing at Devonshire Park.”