Best of British makes for tough tournament

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World number seven and last year’s AEGON International finalist Angelique Kerber is keeping a close eye on the British competitors as she aims to go that one step further and lift the 2013 trophy.

The third seed was edged out by underdog Tamira Paszek in the 2012 final at Devonshire Park but has returned more determined than ever to secure the Eastbourne title.

Angelique Kerber

Angelique Kerber

However, in a field that boasts seven of the top ten females in the world, Kerber realises it’s going to be a tough route to the final two, especially if she comes across one of the four Brits entered into this year’s main draw.

Kerber said, “It’s tough to say who will do well. The draw is very tough and also all the English players are here, so it is even more tough.

“It’s important for the tournament to have good players, though.

“It’s nice to play here. I have some great memories here from last year, where I reached the final and of course it’s nice to have some good preparation before Wimbledon.

“It’s always special to play on the grass here and Eastbourne is also a very nice place, the people are very friendly.

“I arrived here on Thursday so I got a lot of days to practice and I’m feeling good. I love to play on grass.”

While some players may prefer to rest ahead of The Championships, Wimbledon, Kerber is a firm believer that tournaments like the AEGON International provide the best possible preparation for her assault on the SW19 title.

She said, “I think it depends on every player but for me, it’s very important to play some matches here before Wimbledon, so this tournament is important.

“I hope that I will have a lot of matches here to prepare for Wimbledon, which is my goal, so let’s see what happens.”

Kerber will take to the courts in her first-round contest today (Tuesday) against world number 22 Sorana Cirstea and remains confident of doing well, despite this being her first match on grass following her fourth-round exit at the French Open earlier this month.

Kerber, who went on to reach the semi-final at Wimbledon last year, added, “Actually for me, it doesn’t matter. I need one, two days to practice and then it doesn’t matter whether I play on grass or clay.”

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