A great return from Wozniacki

Caroline Wozniacki
Caroline Wozniacki

Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki is the latest in a host of top-class players to confirm their attendance at this year’s AEGON International tournament.

Wozniacki, who is now ranked at number six in the world, won the competition in 2009 and is returning to Devonshire Park this year alongside current Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, reigning AEGON title-holder Marion Bartoli and 2008 French Open champion Ana Ivanovic.

Wozniacki was victorious in the tournament three years ago when she defeated France’s Virginie Razzano 7-6(5), 7-5 in the final.

Since then, she has scaled the heights of women’s tennis, reaching the semi-finals of both the Australian Open and the US Open last year.

The US Open has proved her most successful Grand Slam as she progressed to the final in 2009, just losing out to Kim Clijsters, before reaching successive semi-finals the following two years.

In 2010, Wozniacki became the first Dane, male or female, to reach tennis’ top rank and only the fifth player ever to become world number one without having won a Grand Slam.

That Grand Slam victory is something that still eludes the Danish star though and she will be hoping success in Eastbourne will set her up nicely for when she tackles The Championships, Wimbledon later that month.

Currently, Wozniacki is hoping to put an erratic year behind her by progressing to the quarter-finals of the Mutua Madrid Open this week.

She beat German starlet Mona Barthel in straight sets on Tuesday to set up a third round match against Serena Williams.

Polish world number three Agnieszka Radwanska and world number ten Vera Zvonareva from Russia are other headline players in a world-class field set to hit Eastbourne this summer.

The men’s AEGON draw is proving to be just as impressive a line-up this year as well, with Richard Gasquet, Marcos Baghdatis and Philipp Kohlschreiber all confirming their place in the competition.

Australian teenager Bernard Tomic, who reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon last year has also signed up for the week-long tournament.

Tournament director Gavin Fletcher said, “The standard at the AEGON International has always been very high and this year will be no different.

“Both draws look really strong and I’m sure they will deliver some world class tennis which the Eastbourne public can enjoy.”

A bumper crowd is expected again at Devonshire Park this year, particularly on the opening day of the tournament after it was announced that entry to the grounds will be free.

Centre court and court one will also have unreserved seating making it the ideal time to see great tennis served daily.

Sunday, May 17 will feature a host of legends competing in a Father’s Day tussle with former British No.1 Greg Rusedski and Mark Philippoussis already confirmed for the line-up.