Big hit: Tomas Berdych
With the names of this year’s competitors in the Men’s AEGON International being a closely guarded secret by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), there are four players who definitely will not be at Devonshire Park.
Marcos Baghdatis, who made an unspectacular appearance at Eastbourne, has signed up for the Topshelf Open in the Netherlands that takes place during the same week as the 2013 AEGON International.
Spaniard David Ferrer, American giant John Isner and Pole Stanislas Wawrinka are also among the names to warm up for Wimbledon in Holland.
Yet Czech star Tomas Berdych seems to be the most likely – and probably only – top 10 player from the ATP Tour to visit Eastbourne, although that will obviously depend on his progress at the previous week’s event at Queen’s Club in London as to whether he will opt for a wildcard entry.
Former Czech Republic aces have frequented Devonshire Park in the past, and the 2010 Wimbledon runner-up will listen to advice from coach Ivan Ljubicic about whether to warm-up for the Championships at Devonshire Park if Queens doesn’t go to plan.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was displeased with having to commit to play at Eastbourne after he reached the 2011 final at Queen’s Club, which was completed on the Monday due to the weather.
But the French ace had signed up to compete at the AEGON International, so begrudgingly played and at the ensuing press conference following defeat blasted the schedule. He has vowed never to return to Eastbourne.
Olympic champion Andy Murray is another player unlikely to ever make an AEGON International appearance, especially after his mother Judy strongly criticised Eastbourne and called it a “sleepy town”.
The usual suspects that are probable arrivals at Eastbourne include South African Kevin Anderson, Spaniard Pablo Andujar, France’s Julien Benneteau, Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, Australian veteran Lleyton Hewitt, Poland’s Lukasz Kubot, Taipei’s Yen-Hsun Lu, Finland’s Jarkko Nieminen, American Sam Querrey, Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky and Russian Dmitry Tursunov.