Exclusive by Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd
It means, as it stands, that there will be no Americans in the Ladies Singles main draw of the grass court tournament at Devonshire Park for the first time ever – with Russians continuing to dominate in Singles on the professional circuit.
Stephens is suffering from an abdominal problem while Shvedova has an on going right arm injury. Both players have opted to practice and rest ahead of The Championships.
Stephens, who has yet to reach a Singles final on the WTA Tour Singles final, has hit the headlines this year because of her brushes with world no1 Serena Williams.
Stephens’ form nosedived after her exploits in Melbourne (and the previous event in Brisbane), but returned to cause problems against opponents during the clay court season beginning at the Madrid Masters.
She concluded the gruelling season on clay with a run to the 4th Round at the 2013 French Open for the second season on the bounce, bowing out to defending champion Maria Sharapova of Russia.
Doubles expert Shvedova will also miss the traditional Wimbledon warm-up event, which has the usual stellar field in the Ladies Singles.
Although Russian-born Shvedova continues to live and train in Moscow, she switched her Russian nationality in 2008 as part of Kazakhstan boosting its profile on the sporting arena.
Shvedova, twice a quarter-finalist at Roland Garros, came to prominence at Singles during 2012 Wimbledon when she achieved a Golden Set success over Italian Sara Errani. And last year she started to sport prescription sports glasses due to a nervous tic in one eye.
- Moscow, Russia
- Astana, Kazakhstan
- 5′ 11″ (1.80 m)
- 150 lbs. (68 kg)
By Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rudd
The Czech star completed her clay court season in Paris by storming to the semi-finals before being blown away by new world no1 Maria Sharapova.
The battling world no4 has kept faith in utilising all her dangerous weapons – big serve and fierce forehand – that destroyed Sharapova in the 2011 Wimbledon final.
And Kvitova made a magnificent start to the 2012 season, climbing to world no2 in February, prior to a lull.
But Kvitova is back to her purposeful best and brushed aside shock French Open quarter-final opponent Yaroslava Shvedova, despite the world no144 surprising defending Roland Garros champion Li Na in three sets.
The left-hander set up a potentially mouthwatering French Open semi-final showdown with Sharapova, when Kvitova had the opportunity to make amends for their strange semi-final match at the 2012 Australian Open, when Sharapova snatched success in three sets.
But Russian ace Sharapova proved too hot to handle as she reached her maiden Roland Garros final at the third attempt. And has left Kvitova to concentrate on defending her Wimbledon title, and warming up at Eastbourne’s 2012 AEGON International.
Since Kvitova’s triumph at SW19 she has had to grind out victories by refusing to panic, so that she can control the points.
Among the handful of favourites at Devonshire Park, the Czech star is set to shine ahead of her return to Wimbledon’s Centre Court but faces stiff competition for the AEGON International title with such a strong field.