Tamira Paszek, the defending AEGON International champion, is keen to emulate her remarkable run on her return to Devonshire Park.
The 22-year-old Austrian rode her luck with ambitious and attacking play to reach the 2012 final in style. Then shocked German Angelique Kerber in three sets, saving five match points in a topsy-turvy final that had neutrals on the edge of their Centre Court seats.
Paszek not only impressed fellow WTA Tour players and the enthusiastic crowds, but her Eastbourne-based godparents throughout last year’s tournament.
The world no.30 admitted: “It would be the most amazing thing if I could win it for the second time, but the fans are always incredible and hopefully they might get behind me again – so I don’t see why it can’t happen again.
“Last year I came into it just looking to play a few games that seemed to go pretty well for me. As soon as I am on grass for two days it feels natural, and I got to the Wimbledon final of the Girls’ Singles.
“I have family who live in Eastbourne so I stay at their house, which does help relax me before the tournament and made a big difference last year.”
2013 entrants – exclusive
- Squat a winner: Agnieszka Radwanska
- CLICK HERE FOR UP-TO-DATE LADIES ENTRANTS
Ladies (WTA Tour) // Another strong line-up at Devonshire Park will see former Eastbourne champion Agnieszka Radwanska provisionally head the seedings.
The 24-year-old Pole has been a regular favourite at the AEGON International and amongst the large Polish community in the seaside town.
Ex-Eastbourne winner, and briefly the world no1, Caroline Wozniacki returns to the AEGON International keen to sharpen her grass court skills ahead of The Championships at SW1.
Czech ace Petra Kvitova knows how to win on grass, having been crowned Wimbledon champion but failing to then crack the world’s top three as predicted by experts and former players.
Rising star Sara Errani of Italy and seasoned professional Marion Bartoli of France are among other big guns who will be fired up for a shot at glory.
The players set to compete at the 2013 AEGON International are:
- Agniezka Radwanska (Poland)
- Sara Errani (Italy)
- Angelique Kerber (Germany)
- Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic)
- Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark)
- Nadia Petrova (Russia)
- Maria Kirilenko (Russia)
- Ana Ivanovic (Serbia)
- Marion Bartoli (France)
- Roberta Vinci (Italy)
- Sloane Stephens (USA)
- Ekaterina Makarova (Russia)
- Klara Zakopalova (Czech Republic)
- Sorana Cirstea (Romania)
- Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic)
- Yaroslava Shvedova (Kazakhstan)
- Tamira Paszek (Austria)
- Alize Cornet (France)
- Varvara Lepchenko (USA)
- Elena Vesnina (Russia)
- Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia)
- Laura Robson (Great Britain)
- Su-Wei Hsieh (Taipei)
- Yanina Wickmayer (Belgium)
2013 entrants – exclusive
Title contender: Gilles Simon
Men (ATP Tour) // Gilles Simon,the 28-year-old from Nice, is set to be the provisional top seed as the highest ranked of the eight from the world’s top 20 ATP players due compete at the 2103 AEGON International.
Simon, who reached the dizzy heights of world no6 is nicknamed Gilou with his most significant success over Rafael Nadal in Madrid five years ago. Although British fans will probably remember him bowing out to Olympic champion Andy Murray at the 2013 Australian Open.
Argentinian Juan Monaco and former Eastbourne champion Andreas Seppi of Italy make up the trio of top 20 players.
Yet there are five other aces who will also be vying to become the no1 seed at Eastbourne, namely Phillip Kohlschreiber, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Fabio Fognini, Kevin Anderson, Martin Klizan and Julien Benneteau.
The entrants confirmed are:
- Gilles SIMON (France)
- Juan MONACO (Argentina)
- Andreas SEPPI (Italy)
- Philipp KOHLSCHREIBER (Germany)
- Alexandr DOLGOPOLOV (Ukraine)
- Fabio FOGNINI (Italy)
- Kevin ANDERSON (South Africa)
- Martin KLIZAN (Slovakia)
- Julien BENNETEAU (France)
- Thomaz BELLUCCI (Brazil)
- Jarkko NIEMINEN (Finland)
- Viktor TROICKI (Serbia)
- Feliciano LOPEZ (Spain)
- Denis ISTOMIN (Uzbekistan)
- Radek STEPANEK (Czech Republic)
- Ivan DODIG (Croatia)
- Grega ZEMLJA (Slovenia)
- Bernard TOMIC (Australia)
- Fernando VERDASCO (Spain)
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.
EXCLUSIVE by Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd
Black tennis balls were handed out to willing passers-by near Devonshire Park today as part of a demonstration against tennis sponsor AEGON.
Dutch dock workers were mindfully watched by Sussex Police after they gathered outside the main gate to the AEGON International on pavement near to the Towner Art Gallery.
Those gathered from Holland were protesting against the AEGON Insurance pension scheme, and were handing out black tennis balls along with leaflets explaining their angst.
However, visitors to Eastbourne annual tennis tournament has these fancy balls confiscated, with the reasoning that the officials did not wish for any of these black balls to be thrown on Centre Court and disrupt today’s final.
Exclusive by Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd
With a new mini-Wimbledon tournament set for Halle in Germany as from 2014, Eastbourne’s annual event could be under threat.
However, that all depends on when the planned grass court tournament in Germany takes place.
Ralf Weber, the current Halle tournament director, has gone on record that he aims to introduce a WTA Tour competition to the current annual ATP Tour event.
Mr Weber explained that he wants to host a combined event as from 2014, although he admits that the facility must be expanded – and possibility dates altered.
Eastbourne’s annual tournament is sponsored by AEGON until 2013, so it is no coincidence that Mr Weber has set his plans for 2014 to corner the market for a high profile Wimbledon warm-up event.
Stacey Allaster, the WTA Tour chief, admits that Mr Weber’s representatives have been involved in talks about a combined grass court tournament in Halle.
The ATP (Tour) already has a tournament there and we have had very productive discussions – we hope that it works.