2016 Aegon Classic

Konta set to warm up at Birmingham

British #1 joins ‎strong field pre-Eastbourne

Konta at last year's Classic

Johanna Konta, the popular Eastbourne-based British #1, will compete at the Aegon Classic event at Birmingham.

The Edgbaston Priory Club, which boasts ‎Ann Jones – the 1969 Wimbledon winner – as a member, has announced their strongest ever field of players in their 35-year-old running of the grass court tournament.

Although half of the world’s top 30 have been named, the crowds will be supporting Australian-born Konta who reached the semi-final stage of this year’s Australian Open.

But the fact that so many leading players are due to compete at the Aegon Classic does mean that if they progress to the semi-final or final then they may drop out of the Aegon International at Eastbourne as the tournaments are run back-to-back.

The clay court season is traditionally gruelling, with the French Open in Paris the climax before the focus on grass that culminates at Wimbledon.

With Eastbourne having attracted the majority of the world’s top 20 over recent years, something that the men’s event at Devonshire Park failed to achieve, then many would not opt to play at Birmingham as well as Eastbourne.

Angelique-Kerber

Angelique Kerber (right)

German Angelique Kerber, an Eastbourne regular and former runner-up at Devonshire Park, is the marquee name at Birmingham having been crowned the 2016 Australian Open champion.

She is joined by fellow top 10 ace Simona Halep of Romania.

And a trio of ex-Eastbourne winners are also signed to compete at Birmingham – Belinda Bencic, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Caroline Wozniacki.

Swiss teenager Bencic, who surprised herself by taking last year’s crown at Devonshire Park, is due as long she is fit following recent injury problems.

Wozniacki, a former world #1 and arguably the Eastbourne crowd’s favourite current player on the WTA Tour, will hone her skills before Wimbledon and representing Denmark at the Olympics in August.

Svetlana+Kuznetsoval

Kuznetsova

And ‎Russia’s two-time Grand Slam champion Kuznetsova, who recently shocked world #1 Serena Williams, will play at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham.

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