venus heads star line-up

Former world number one and five time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams is set to be the star attraction at this year’s AEGON International.

The 30-year-old big serving American is one of 13 of the world’s top 20 players who have entered the tournament at Devonshire Park.

Williams is joined by French Open champions Francesca Schiavone and Ana Ivanovic.

This year’s Australian Open finalist Na Li is also in the main draw alongside Victoria Azarenka.

Tournament director Gavin Fletcher said, “We promised to deliver world class tennis to Eastbourne, so to attract 13 of the world’s top 20, and five of the world’s top 10, is a real coup for the tournament.

“I think it’s fantastic that Venus has entered this year as it promises to be another thrilling week of high class women’s tennis.”

Williams is currently ranked 16th in the world and has not played at Devonshire Park for 13 years. In 1998, at the age of 17, she lost to Natasha Zvereva in the second round.

Since then the older of the two Williams sisters went on to achieve remarkable success on the tour.

The 6ft 1in American has won the Wimbledon singles title five times, the US Open twice and claimed a gold medal at the 2000 Olympics.

Her doubles record is even more impressive, winning the Wimbledon and Australian titles four times and the French and US twice.

She turned professional in October, 1994 at the age of 14 and has gone on to earn a staggering US$ 27,681,772 in career prize money.

Last year’s French Open finalist, Sam Stosur, has also entered. The Australian competed last year and made the semi-finals before losing to eventual winner Russian Ekaterina Makarova.

Former champion and world number one Caroline Wozniacki is yet to confirm.

The event runs from June 11-18 at Devonshire Park. Tickets are from £14 and can be bought online at www.aegoninternational.co.uk