Boris Becker became the latest addition to the star-studded line-up that will be gracing the Devonshire Park courts in June for the AEGON International.
The legendary Becker burst to international recognition when he became the youngest-ever Wimbledon champion in 1985 aged just 17, the first of six grand-slams he won during an illustrious career.
He joins fellow Wimbledon winners Goran Ivanisevic and Martina Hingis in confirming their attendance at the highlight of the Eastbourne sporting calendar, with the trio due to take part in a series of singles and mixed doubles matches that will open the tournament on Sunday June 12th.
Even though these matches are only exhibitions, Becker is still expecting some top-class tennis from all three players.
He said, “It’s always great to put yourself up against great champions and for this reason I’m really looking forward to facing Goran on the wonderful Centre Court in Eastbourne.
“To have the opportunity to open the AEGON International is a real honour and I look forward to seeing some old and new faces in Eastbourne in June.”
The ever-popular Ivanisevic is similarly excited about playing on the South Coast.
He said, “It’s a real honour to be asked to play in Eastbourne and I’m really looking forward to it.
“I never played there during my career but Devonshire Park has a great history and tradition so to play on those famous grass courts will be a real thrill, as well as a lot of fun.”
Becker’s appearance is yet another coup for the tournament’s line-up as a whole, which is shaping up to be the strongest ever.
The world-class field for the women’s event is headed up by world number one Caroline Wozniacki, who won the event in 2009 and will be hoping to reclaim her crown in preparation for Wimbledon just one week later.
With her attendance confirmed and yet more legends set to be announced in the coming weeks, tournament director Gavin Fletcher is delighted with how things are progressing.
He said, “This is a real coup for tennis fans in the South East. As well as having many of the world’s top players taking part in the AEGON International, fans and local residents will also be able to enjoy watching some of the biggest names from years gone by.
“Boris appeals to all tennis fans and it will be a memorable spectacle to see him facing Goran on centre court.”
With an exciting cast already in place for this summer and the town confirmed as the tournament’s host until at least 2013, it all bodes well for another great week of tennis at Devonshire Park.
Hampden Park tennis open day
Hampden Park Tennis Club are hosting a free open day on Saturday May 7 in a bid to inspire the town’s residents to pick up their rackets and get playing.
With tennis participation actually decreasing in the town, the club’s match secretary Richard Ellis hopes the lure of a free game will be too much to turn down.
He said, “The main aim is to get potential new members mingling with our current ones and simply get people playing tennis.
“We’ve got some fantastic facilities here and hopefully people will come along and enjoy them.”
From 9am till 1pm the day will be focussed on juniors, with qualified coaches on hand to help the kids improve their game.
All rackets and balls will be provided.
After 1pm it will be the turn of the adults, who can receive coaching or simply play depending on their preference.
Refreshments will be provided all day.
For further information contact Richard Ellis on 01323 644093, or club coach Jenny Hughes on 01323 847665