Hewitt has his eye on MAIN prize

The men’s draw in the AEGON international received a huge boost this week as former Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt confirmed his place at Devonshire Park.

The 30-year-old all-action Aussie hustler may have slipped down the world rankings in recent years, but his high-energy display and his love of grass court tennis will make him one to watch in Eastbourne.

Hewitt said, “I am excited to be playing in Eastbourne for the first time.

“I think it’s great that there is now a men’s tournament alongside the popular women’s event and it’s a great opportunity for me to prepare for Wimbledon.

“I’ve heard there are great crowds there and I can’t wait to get back on grass.”

Last year’s champion Michael Llodra will be back to defend his title alongside fellow Frenchman, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Tsonga, who was beaten in straight sets by Roger Federer in the Rome Masters on Wednesday said, “I’m looking forward to playing on the grass courts.

“I am sure there will be a good atmosphere and I’m hoping to get some decent wins under my belt ahead of Wimbledon.”

Gavin Fletcher, tournament director added, “It’s fantastic to see Lleyton and Jo-Wilfried both enter Eastbourne and to see that many top 50 players proves the men’s line-up is getting stronger.

“With 13 of the world’s top 20 female players and now these guys, this year’s event really does look set to be action-packed.

Last week five time ladies Wimbledon champion Venus Williams confirmed her place in the main draw. It will be her first appearance in Eastbourne for 13 years.

She said, “A lot of the players on the tour have told me about how much the tournament has grown in recent years and so I’m really excited at the prospect of playing in Eastbourne.”

“It provides perfect preparation on grass ahead of Wimbledon, a tournament I really love and where I really want to perform well again this year.”

The tournament takes place at Devonshire Park from June 12-18. Tickets can be purchased online at www.aegoninternational.co.uk or over the phone by calling 0844 209 7350.