Eastbourne International: Wildcard for grand slam champion Stan Wawrinka

Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka will add to a strong line-up at this year’s Nature Valley Eastbourne International (June 22-30).

Wawrinka, a former world No 3 with 16 career titles to his name, is easing his way back to full-fitness after two lots of surgery on his left knee last year to fix a hole in a cartilage.

Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka

He accepted a wildcard following his defeat at Queen’s on Wednesday to American Sam Querrey. The 33-year-old Swiss player showed encouraging signs of recovery during his three set loss.

He had been struggling since his comeback and has slipped to 261 in the world. “I feel good with the way I moved and the way I played my game at Queen’s last week,” said Wawrinka. “I am looking forward to getting some more matches under my belt at Eastbourne next week, getting used to playing important points again and feeling right mentally on the court.

“It isn’t easy to start from zero after surgery and stay positive, but I believe I am physically fit enough to play my best tennis now and I am looking forward to seeing how far that can take me.”

He will join an exciting line-up at Devonshire Park that includes two of the ATP’s Top 20 including tournament top seed Diego Schwartzman and British No 1 Kyle Edmund.

Stan Wawrinka

Stan Wawrinka

Three of the sport’s most exciting prospects, 19-year-old Denis Shapovalov, 22-year-old Daniil Medvedev and 19-year-old Alex de Minaur with former world No 3 David Ferrer are also set to appear.

Novak Djokovic, who thrilled the crowds on his way to victory last year, is unlikely to return while Andy Murray is expected announce his pre-Wimbledon plans today (Friday). In a very strong women’s draw, four of the world’s top 10 are set for action including World No 2 Caroline Wozniacki, defending champion Karolina Pliskova, 2017 French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko and world No 8 Petra Kvitova.

A further six players from the top 20 include No 11 Julia Goerges, No 12 Angelique Kerber, No 13 Daria Kasatkina, No 18 Ash Barty, No 19 Magdalena Rybarikova and No 20 Anastasija Sevastova. Eastbourne’s Johanna Konta and Britain’s Heather Watson, both former semi-finalists, will also be on show.