Former British No.1 Greg Rusedski believes one of our British hopefuls could win this year’s Aegon International Tennis tournament in Eastbourne.
Britain’s Heather Watson and Laura Robson, both of whom are now ranked inside the world’s top 50 at 40 and 42 respectively, are set to feature in the women’s singles event at Devonshire Park.
Last summer they suffered hard-fought defeats in the second round to considerably higher-rank opponents.
The pair went one better as they partnered up for the doubles tournament, but were knocked out by top seeds Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond at last years quarter final stage.
When asked if either could mount a serious challenge at this year’s Eastbourne event Rusedski said.“Yeah why not?”
He added: “If Laura and Heather can keep on progressing and they play like they did last year there’s no reason why you couldn’t have a Brit possibly winning the title.”
Success in Eastbourne could also provide a good platform for success in the summers major tournament. According to Rusedski “if you play well here you usually have a very good Wimbledon as well.”
Rusedski will be in Eastbourne this summer as he takes on Australian Mark Philippoussis in the Legends Exhibition singles match.
The former tennis stars who are “big friends” off the court squared off last year for the event and will go head-to-head once again in a Father’s Day reunion on June 16.
They will be joined by former world No.1 and Wimbledon Champion Lindsay Davenport and two-time Wimbledon Doubles champion Rennae Stubbs for a mixed doubles exhibition match later that same day. Both Davenport and Stubbs were winners in Eastbourne during their professional careers
Speaking ahead of the tournament, Rusedski who is no stranger to the town said “I have really good memories of Eastbourne. The first Davis Cup match I ever played was actually in Eastbourne in 1995.
“I’ve always enjoyed the people, going out to the local restaurants and it’s always been a nice event for me.
“I think it’s a great venue and I always enjoyed playing there. I think the stadium court is beautiful and the outside practice courts as well.
“But also the interaction. Being able to walk and sit beside the courts and almost feel like you’re touching the players. It’s a wonderful venue.”
The action packed week at Devonshire Park runs from June15 - 22 and promises to be a star studded affair once again.
American star Andy Roddick who won last year’s men’s event has now retired but organisers are hopeful the likes of world No.9 Richard Gasquet will grace the Devonshire Park courts along with a host of female stars.
To book tickets for the Legends match and for general admission visit www.aegoninternational.co.uk/tickets or call 0844 581 3015.