World No 3 Simona Halep receives wild card for Eastbourne

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 28: Simona Halep of Romania plays a backhand  during her ladies singles first round match against Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia during Day three of the 2019 French Open at Roland Garros on May 28, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images) SUS-190530-101832002
PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 28: Simona Halep of Romania plays a backhand during her ladies singles first round match against Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia during Day three of the 2019 French Open at Roland Garros on May 28, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images) SUS-190530-101832002

World No 3 Simona Halep has been awarded a wild card into the Nature Valley International Eastbourne, the LTA summer grass court event which takes place at Devonshire Park 21-29 June.

Former world No 1 Halep will be competing at Eastbourne for the first time since 2017 when she reached the quarterfinals.

“I’m really excited to be heading back to Eastbourne this summer,” said Halep. “I had some great matches when I played there in 2017 and really enjoyed the intimate atmosphere, with some great support from the fans.

“The grass courts are beautiful and provide the best preparation possible for Wimbledon so I’m grateful to the LTA for this wild card opportunity.”

Halep is the fourth Grand Slam champion to confirm for the Nature Valley International, joining defending Nature Valley International champion Caroline Wozniacki (Australian Open 2018), Sloane Stephens (2017 US Open) and Jelena Ostapenko (2017 French Open).

The draw will also feature world No.2 Karolina Pliskova, and some of the WTA tour’s brightest rising stars including world No.4 Kiki Bertens, Elina Svitolina, Ashleigh Barty and Aryna Sabalenka.

Tournament Director Gavin Fletcher said, “It’s great news that we’ll be welcoming Simona back to Eastbourne. She had a great run at Devonshire Park in 2017 and we’re looking forward to seeing her make her return to Eastbourne’s grass courts this summer.

“The Nature Valley International has once again attracted an incredibly strong field, and we’re delighted to give fans the opportunity to get close to the world class tennis action with three of the top five – and 14 of the top 20 – competing for this historic women’s title this summer.”

As well as world class live tennis, the Nature Valley International will showcase a host of off-court activities as part of the LTA’s vision to open up tennis by making it more welcoming, accessible and enjoyable for all. Family Day on Friday 21 June offers free admission for parents and children to enjoy the qualifying matches, watch the players practice, and soak up Devonshire Park’s uniquely relaxed atmosphere.

And the LTA will also invite pupils from 30 local schools to attend the tournament, giving them the chance to try tennis, and get inspired by the action around the grounds.

To purchase tickets, and for more information about the Nature Valley International, visit www.lta.org.uk/naturevalleyinternational. Ticket prices start from £2 for children aged 16 and under, and £12 for adults.

Free admission to people of all ages on Nature Valley International Family Day on Friday 21 June.